U.S. State Department Offers $5 Million Reward for ISIS Oil Tips

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By Erik Ortiz

The U.S. government is offering a $5 million reward for information that will help hit ISIS where it hurts: its finances.

The State Department on Tuesday began asking the public for tips to "disrupt" the terrorist group's trade of oil and trafficking of antiquities — a significant source of its operations.

NBC News reported in July that ISIS has reaped $8 million to $10 million a month in oil and gas smuggling in Iraq and Syria — making three times as much in the illicit trade than previously thought. The money goes toward paying its fighters monthly salaries and providing stipends to their families.

Related: U.S. Doing Too Little to Stop Foreign Fighters: House Homeland Security Report

That revenue source is on top of ISIS's traditional income operations of extortion, robbery and ransom.

According to the State Department, the reward announcement marks the first time the U.S. secretary of state has authorized a "Rewards for Justice" offer to halt a terrorist organization's oil and antiquities activity. The antiquities include ancient and historical coins, jewelry, carved gems, plaques, and sculptures, officials said.

Aside from cutting off ISIS financially, the State Department said stopping the militants would help preserve cultural and historical sites, some of which have been looted and destroyed as the group seeks to advance in the region.