Iraqi workers find 'sacks of ruined cash' in Mosul in post-ISIS clear up

Officials say they have recovered at least 175 bags of money so far as workers clear rubble from the liberation of Mosul

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Workers clearing rubble from Iraq’s central bank building in the shattered city of Mosul have pulled bags of waterlogged banknotes from safes in the floor.

The grand building is still riddled with bullet marks, gaping holes and the walls are charred and blackened – a reminder of the gruelling ground battle to liberate the city from ISIS in 2017.

Bags of banknotes retrieved from the underground coffers of a central bank branch in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, once a stronghold of the Islamic State(IS) group, are piled up on the floor, on October 20, 2021.  AFP

Workers clearing the site removed sacks of banknotes rolled up in black plastic bags from a hole in the floor, an AFP correspondent said.

"After starting to fix the building and removing rubble, we were able to access the safes," said Hussein Al Zaidi, chief of the Mosul branch of the Iraqi central bank.

The banknotes were badly damaged after "the coffers were engulfed in groundwater due to an air strike" during the offensive to take Mosul from the militants.

"We discovered banknotes in bags, small bills," he said.

So far, they have retrieved 175 bags, he said, without specifying the total value.

When ISIS militants overran Mosul in the summer of 2014, they seized several hundred million dollars, as well as gold bars from the Mosul branch of Iraq's central bank.

The country's second city, Mosul was the militant’s Iraqi "capital" of their self-proclaimed "caliphate".

Bags of banknotes retrieved from the underground coffers of a central bank branch in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, once a stronghold of the Islamic State(IS) group, are piled up on the floor, on October 20, 2021.  AFP

The Iraqi army and a US-led coalition retook the city in 2017 after intense bombardment and fighting that left it in ruins.

Iraq declared victory over the extremists later that year.

Earlier this month, Iraq said it had captured ISIS's suspected finance chief, Sami Jasim Al Jaburi, in an operation in Turkey.

Updated: October 21, 2021, 6:12 AM
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