Iraq Demands Explanation from Saudis for IS Fundraising

Iraq’s Foreign Ministry has asked for an explanation from the Saudi authorities for campaigns inside the kingdom with the purpose of raising money to prop up the Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in the Iraqi city of Fallujah in the guise of donation to children.

In a statement on Saturday, Iraqi Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmad Jamal said Baghdad is waiting for the Saudi government’s explanation for the fundraising campaigns.

He underlined that such a move would be a blatant violation of the United Nations resolutions against the Daesh terrorist group and run counter to the principles of good neighborliness, Iraq's Alsumaria news reported.

Genuine efforts to tackle the criminal terrorists should target their financial and ideological resources, Jamal added.

His furious reaction came after Saudi officials admitted implicitly that Iraq’s current military offensive against Daesh in the city of Fallujah has sparked fundraising campaigns in Saudi Arabia.

“You cannot control the sympathies of people,” Major General Mansour al-Turki, a spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry said on Wednesday to the reporters invited to question him remotely at the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

“But what Saudi Arabia can control” Turki added “are potentially fake campaigns to raise money in the name of the ‘children of Fallujah’ that actually funds terrorism,” according to The Washington Post.

He then added that charitable solicitation or giving for any cause outside Saudi Arabia has been monitored by Riyadh since 2004, and all private donations going abroad must use official channels.

Some 226 people have been convicted of terrorism financing activities, Turki noted.

Elsewhere in the statement, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman strongly defended the activities of Iraqi voluntary forces, known as the Popular Mobilization Units or Hashid al-Shaabi, stressing that they are part of an official organization under command of the commander in chief of the Iraqi armed forces and that the budget for Hashid al-Shaabi comes from the country’s national budget according to the bills approved by the parliament.

The Iraqi army, backed by the voluntary forces, has fully surrounded the city of Fallujah, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, and is advancing towards city center to cleanse the town of terrorists.

In January 2014, Fallujah became the first Iraqi city to fall under the control of Daesh militants, six months before they declared a caliphate over territory seized in Iraq and Syria.

(Sources: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence; Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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