The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is flush with cash, and holds as much as $2 billion. Counterterrorism officials say the group knows how to use that money to its advantage. It’s showing a kind of professional acumen and discipline that sets it apart from other terrorist organizations. But what kinds of attacks can its money buy?
Back in 2006, when Germany was hosting the World Cup soccer tournament, a terrorist attack was narrowly averted. With bombs hidden in their suitcases, two men in their 20s boarded commuter trains in the city of Cologne.
Richard Barrett was on a U.N. team that tallied up the costs of terrorist attacks, including that 2006 attempt in Germany.
“These suitcases were meant to blow up a train, and clearly that would have created a huge amount of damage and public anxiety and so on for very, very little cost,” he says.
By very, very little cost he means less than $500.