Companies in 20 countries produced, sold or received components that found their way into Islamic State (IS) bombs, a report has found.
Mobile phones, cables and wires and detonators were among the components from 51 different companies that were discovered in IEDs (improvised explosive devices) used by IS, according to the report from Conflict Armament Research (CAR).
The independent organisation, which investigates the supply of weapons in armed conflicts, was mandated by the EU to document material recovered in military action against IS in Syria and Iraq.
Working with Syrian and Iraqi forces, CAR found components from companies from countries including the US, Turkey, Belgium and Japan.
In all cases, the companies lawfully traded components with regional and trade distribution companies, which in turn sold them to smaller commercial entities.
“By allowing individuals and groups affiliated with IS forces to acquire components used in IEDs, these small entities appear to be the weakest link in the chain of custody,” the report read.
“There is no evidence to suggest, nor does CAR in any respect imply, any direct transfer of goods to IS forces by the countries and companies mentioned in this report.”
Unlike the supply chain for military weapons, IEDs are created from commercial goods that are not subject to government export licences and whose transfer is far less scrutinised and regulated than the transfer of weapons, the report said.
It stated that a focus on lawfully-traded commodities is “critically important” to an understanding of how IS forces are able to manufacture IEDs on such a large scale.