ISIS could very well have become the world's richest terror organisation after an injection of £250m into their coffers following a raid on Iraq's northern city of Mosul.
The militant jihadists currently advancing on the Iraqi capital of Baghdad are now rolling in riches, with an armed raid on Mosul's central bank reportedly resulting in a haul of 500 billion Iraqi dinars (£250m).
Atheel al-Nujaifi, Ninevah's provincial governor, told the International Business Times that numerous banks across Mosul had been raided, with gold bullion taken as well as cash.
It elevates the group to a wealth on a par with the Taliban, once believed to have been in possession of around £200m, and Hezbollah, which is believed to have a budget of around £200m, with £50m-£100m coming directly from Iran.
The budget of al Qaeda, at the time of the September 11 attacks, was minuscule in comparison, a mere £17.6m, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
For example, with $425 mill ISIS could pay 60,000 fighters around $600 a month for a year.— Brown Moses (@Brown_Moses) June 11, 2014
Hopefully Kurdish TV is wrong and it's only a tiny percentage of that figure, otherwise Iraq and Syria (and the wider region) is fucked.— Brown Moses (@Brown_Moses) June 11, 2014
The al-Qaeda-inspired militants have seized much of the country's Sunni heartland and pushed into an ethnically mixed province northeast of Baghdad, capturing two towns there.
ISIS are likely to be receiving significant funding from the Sunni power Saudi Arabia, seeking to diminish the influence of Shia Iran in the region.
Iran is said to have sent an "elite force" of fighters to help the Iraqi government, to stop the radicals from becoming entrenched in their Western neighbour.
Now governing a significant wedge of Iraq, and with almost unlimited funds now at their disposal, the ISIS militants have created a document that lays out the law in the new Caliphate - including amputations of limbs for stealing, a ban on women leaving their homes, and crucifixion for criminals.