Islamic State has started to auction Christian properties that it seized in Mosul to ease its deepening financial crisis, according to Arabic media.
Its jihadis went on patrol in Iraq’s second largest city, announcing the sale of over 400 homes, 19 commercial buildings and 167 shops, stores and garages, several Arabic newspapers quoted German news agency DPA as saying.
The auction on 16 Jan. covered only Christian properties, local sources told DPA.
“It took place at Doura Qassim Khayyat, in Western Mosul. Armed Islamic enforcement patrols went around the streets announcing the time and date the sale was going to take place,” sources added.
Christians had their properties seized when Islamic State overran Iraq’s northern Nineveh Plains in the summer of 2014. The religiously motivated campaign particularly targeted minorities. Widespread abuses, amounting to “possibly genocide” have since been documented by international bodies, including the UN’s report this week.
The DPA report quoted a local from Mosul, who said that IS had started with the sale of residential properties at very low prices, adding that Syrian traders – free to move across the border controlled by IS – were prominent among potential buyers.
“Large homes were sold for a pittance, together with their furniture, although the latter was priced separately,” the source said.
The news came amid reports the jihadi group was halving its fighters’ salaries.
The London-based Independent quoted a document presumably released by the Islamic State’s ‘treasury,’ or “Bayt Mal al-Muslimeen.” Mentioning “exceptional circumstances,” it said “it has been decided to reduce the salaries that are paid to all mujahideen by half.”
The Independent reports that anti-IS forces have been bombing the group’s oil fields, supply lines and cash stores since last autumn. It says on January 11, a “cash distribution centre” was hit by US planes near Mosul, and that this single hit is estimated to have deprived IS of a stash of millions of dollars.