ISIS Japan
Islamic State militants murdered Japanese nationals Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, after Japan refused to pay ransom for their release.Al-Hayat Media

In an effort to block off the finances of Islamic State (Isis) to conduct its operations, the United Nations Security Council has tightened sanctions on the militant group.

The jihadists have been generating revenue to fund their deadly operations in West Asia by seeking ransom from kidnappings, smuggling oil and trafficking antiques.

On Thursday, 12 February, the UN added more sanctions and reaffirmed the ones it had adopted earlier to choke off the funds of the militants.

The UN will also add names to a list of individuals who have been trading illicitly with Isis militants and other rebel and terror groups in Syria and Iraq.

International sanctions will be imposed on people trading with the jihadists. The UN will collect the names of such people from the governments of Syria and Iraq.

The United Nations has urged all of its 193 member countries to take appropriate steps to prevent trade in antiques and has directed Unesco to place a ban on dealing in cultural property with Isis and al-Qaeda affiliates.

A part of the resolution also states that governments worldwide must prevent terrorists from benefiting directly or indirectly from the ransom paid to secure the release of kidnapped citizens.

"This is the most comprehensive resolution addressing the issue of terrorism," Syria's UN ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told reporters at the UN, Wall Street Journal reports.

While it quoted American ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power as saying: "Part of a comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy [the group]."

Power added that the move would make it more difficult for the Islamic State to operate as it is already experiencing problems with regards to generating funds for its operations.

Meanwhile, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations Mohamed Ali Alhakim told AFP that the fall of Mosul to Isis fighters in 2014 was a boon for the Islamists as they managed to generate massive funds by looting antiques from the city.

"Mosul is a historic city, the University of Mosul is one of the oldest. It has art and treasures and these were all stolen," he said and added, "They are not only looting, they are chopping down walls of ancient buildings."

According to reports, in November the Islamic State was generating between $846,000 to $1.6m (£549,003 and £1.03m) per day from oil sales after it gained control of large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.