European Union’s security chief Julian King warned on Thursday that there is a “real risk” of increased funding for attacks in Europe as ISIS loses ground in the Middle East.
“As we have success against ISIS on the ground in Iraq and Syria, they are moving funds out of Iraq and Syria,” King told the civil liberties committee in the European Parliament.
“There is a real risk of a new influx of funding for terrorism. We need to be conscious of that and we need to work together to see what we can do about it,” he added.
ISIS is sliding from defeat to defeat. It has lost an estimated 90 percent of its territory in Iraq. At one time, the group held around half of Syria as it sought to establish its self-declared “caliphate” but today ISIS controls just 15 percent, according to estimates.
Last month, a UN report said that the terrorist organization was continuing to send remittances abroad — often small sums, making them difficult to detect — as part of a bid to step up its international efforts “as demonstrated by the higher pace of attacks in Europe.”
The report said funding sources were still based on oil profits and the imposition of taxes on local populations in the areas under its control.
However, it said the financial situation of the ISIS “core continues to deteriorate,” mainly due to military pressure on the extremist group.
In the last two or three years, EU member states have been hit by an increasing number of attacks claimed by ISIS.
King said the EU is also stepping up efforts to “respond to the unprecedented scale and speed of radicalization that we now face in our societies,” including online and offline.