The United States has scored a major victory over terrorism warlords by cutting off funds intended for their arms-buying operations, the British Mirror reports.
According to the report, groups including Al-Qaeda have had their terror activities severely disrupted after the CIA, FBI and Treasury tracked down and froze £14 million ($21 million) in assets in the past two years.
“There is a huge effort being made to stop the financing of terrorism both in terms of terror groups and states who sponsor them,” an intelligence source told the British newspaper.
“Every effort is being made to disrupt and if possible stop terror networks and targeting their funding is extremely effective,” the source added.
The dossier of blocked terror funding was revealed in a report called Terror Assets by the Office of Foreign Assets Control within the United States Treasury Department.
The report said that Al-Qaeda had almost £9 million (approximately $14 million) frozen in 2013 but last year the figure dropped by nearly £1 million when some funds were released as they had been wrongly linked to the group.
It is thought the network’s leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri – who took over from Osama bin Laden – is increasingly looking for new ways to channel cash as America hunts it down, according to the Mirror.
But Al-Qaeda is not the only victim of the American move, the report said. Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers forfeited almost £1 million ($1.5 million) in the past two years after financial investigators tracked down the money and put a block on the account.
Hezbollah was also targeted by Treasury investigators who managed to freeze almost £5 million from the group, increasing from £4.5 million in 2013, according to the Mirror.
The freezing of Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s finances in Gaza and Lebanon meant both groups faced difficulty in launching attacks against Israel, even though violence continued.
The Mirror notes that Hezbollah was able to secure some funding from Iran, whose Shiite Muslim regime is in line with its own sect and also from the neighboring Syrian regime.
Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad is thought to have given the go-ahead for funding Hezbollah after the organization supported his war against a Sunni uprising.