French official highlights danger of micro-donors here for IS terrorism

PARIS, More than 400 donors to so-called Islamic State terrorist organisation were identified in France over the past two years and their contributions went to more than 300 sources, mainly in Lebanon and Turkey, a senior justice official said on Thursday.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins, speaking before attending an international conference here to combat terrorism financing, said that even if contributions were “modest” from French sources to IS terrorists, they were “important in number.” Molins stressed to French radio that the cost of financing terrorist operations that had a huge impact here were very low and this “micro-financing” was causing alarm with French authorities.

“Terrorists needed 25,000 euros (USD 30,000) to organise the attacks against “Charlie Hebdo” and Hyper Casher (supermarket) in January 2015, and 80,000 Euros (USD 97,000) for (the attacks) on November 13,” he indicated to “France Info” radio.

Almost 150 people died in those attacks and 244 people have died in terror attacks since 2015 throughout France. IS has sought to claim most of these attacks and was certainly involved in some of the bigger ones, but not all the “lone wolf” incidents.

The Paris Conference, in which Kuwait is a key participant, is examining ways to curtail international financing for IS and Molins said judicial and police investigators were now also closely monitoring French sources of terror financing, which use basic methods like pre-paid credit cards and minor transfers and money orders.

Investigators have pinpointed 416 donors to terror financing here in the past two years and also have identified 320 “collectors” of these donations “essentially based in Turkey and Lebanon and thanks to whom Jihadists located in Syria and Iraq were able to receive these funds,” Molins told “France Info.” Kuwaiti Finance Minister Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf leads the national delegation to the Paris Conference to Combat Terrorism Financing, which is being attended by 80 relevant ministers from 72 countries alongside 500 experts on the subject.

Source: Kuwait News Agency