U.S., Turkey target financial network linked to Islamic State

Washington (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department said on Thursday it was taking joint action with Turkey against a network it said played a key role in money management, transfer and distribution for the Islamic State militant group operating in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey’s foreign affairs ministry said on Twitter the assets of seven individuals or legal persons involved in financing for the group were frozen.

The U.S. Treasury Department said four individuals and two entities in Turkey were designated under U.S. sanctions.

They included an Iraqi national living illegally in Turkey, Brukan al-Khatuni, his two sons and an associate, and two businesses they used to transfer money on behalf of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, between Turkey, Iraq and Syria, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

The sanctions freeze any U.S. assets they hold and generally bar Americans from dealing with them.

Islamic State killed and executed thousands of people in the name of its extreme interpretation of Islam before it was territorially defeated in Iraq in 2017 and Syria in 2019.

The group last month named a new leader, Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Quraishi, after its previous head blew himself up in October while being besieged by former anti-government rebels in southern Syria.

The United States in November blacklisted four individuals and eight companies in South Africa aiding the group and in May imposed sanctions on a network of five Islamic State financial facilitators working across Indonesia, Syria and Turkey.

The head of the network targeted on Thursday, Brukan al-Khatuni, helped with foreign financing for the group in Iraq before moving to Turkey in 2016, where he helped transfer funds from Gulf-based donors and handled millions of dollars for the group, according to the Treasury Department.