More than 400 ISIS donors operating in France – prosecutor

More than 400 ISIS donors operating in France – prosecutor
A Paris prosecutor has identified more than 400 financial donors to Islamic extremist groups like the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in France. French officials identified another 320 fundraisers for jihadists in Turkey and Libya.

Speaking to French media on Wednesday, prosecutor Francois Molins warned of the relatively low cost of modern terrorism, and said he was alarmed at how terrorist groups have been able to “microfinance” their activities by raising “small but significant amounts” through its donors and money-laundering operations.

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"It is through these modes of financing; prepaid cards, donations to humanitarian associations, gifts to collectors, the use of some virtual modes of payment. All that means that, at the end of the day, organizations can receive this type of money and prepare a certain number of actions in France or abroad," Molins said in an interview with FranceInfo.

Molins, who had been speaking on Wednesday ahead of the ‘No Money For Terror’ conference in Paris, revealed that French authorities placed the cost of the January 2015 Ile-de-France attacks in which 17 people were killed at around €25,000 ($30,180). Meanwhile, the Paris attacks in November 2015 in which 130 people were killed are thought to have cost €80,000 ($96,600).

Terrorism funding has been a target for French prosecutors in recent times. Earlier this month, the newspaper Liberation reported that French cement manufacturer Lafarge paid large sums of money to armed groups, including Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), in order to maintain production at its facility in Syria. The payments are thought to have taken place between 2012 and 2014.

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Speaking at the No Money for Terror event on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron called for increased cooperation to halt financing for extremists. The event hosted more than 80 ministers and 500 terrorism experts from around the world. “We have to cut off terrorism at its roots: it feeds on human trafficking, drugs and weapons. There’s always an underlying economy,” Macron told the event.

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