Iraq has called on Saudi Arabia for explanation after a senior official admitted fundraising in the kingdom for Daesh terrorists fighting in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
The call by Iraq’s Foreign Ministry came after Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour al-Turki said earlier this week that Iraq’s current offensive against Daesh has sparked a flurry of new fundraising campaigns in Saudi Arabia.
“You cannot control the sympathies of people,” Turki said before acknowledging that those were potentially fake campaigns to raise money in the name of the “children of Fallujah” that actually funds terrorism.
“They are focusing on any event that results in a humane crisis, like the one going on in Fallujah now in Iraq,” he said.
“This is now heavily being used by many to encourage people to give money for the children of Fallujah,” Turki added during a conference call with reporters on terrorist financing.
In a statement on Saturday, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry denounced the case as “an obvious violation of the Security Council’s decisions.”
“We are waiting for a clarification from the Saudi Government regarding its spokesman’s press statements on the collection of financial donations for ISIS (Daesh) within the kingdom,” the statement said.
“The real efforts exercised to fight terrorist organizations must eliminate its funding sources,” the ministry said, in an apparent jab at Turki’s allegations touting Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism efforts.
Turki spoke Wednesday to reporters invited to question him remotely at the Saudi embassy in Washington which has sharply stepped up its lobbying activities in recent months amid new reports about the kingdom’s role in 9/11 attacks.
Saudi Arabia threatened to pull out several hundreds of billions of dollars in assets held in the US if the country was incriminated in the attacks.
Hence, US Treasury officials have said their concerns about wealthy Saudis funneling money to terrorist organizations have largely abated.
Riyadh is widely viewed as one of the major supporters of Daesh, mainly operating in Syria and Iraq.
Takfirism, which is the terrorist group’s trademark, is largely influenced by Wahhabism, the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia and freely preached by Saudi clerics.
Iraqi forces and elite counterterrorism service advance from the edge of the al-Shuhdaa neighborhood, south of Fallujah on June 10, 2016. ©AFP
Daesh overran Fallujah in the western Anbar province in January 2014, six months before the terror group proceeded with its offensive, taking more areas in Iraq.
On May 23, the Iraqi military started a large-scale push to drive out the militants from Fallujah, located nearly 70 kilometers west of the capital, Baghdad.
According to the United Nations, up to 90,000 civilians are believed to be trapped in the city, which has been under siege for about six months, with no supplies getting in.
Daesh militants have been carrying out horrific acts of violence, such as public decapitations and crucifixions, against all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians in areas they have overrun.