LONDON: An inquiry has been launched into how Isis has obtained such a large numbers of Toyota pickup trucks and SUVs.
Toyota’s Hilux pickups – an overseas model similar to the Toyota Tacoma – and Toyota Land Cruisers have become regular fixtures in Isis propaganda videos in Iraq, Syria and Libya. The trucks are often seen loaded with heavy weapons and emblazened with the Isis black flag.
The US Treasury’s Terror Financing Unit has asked Toyota “to help them determine how Isis managed to acquire such a large number of trucks.
Mark Wallace, a former US Ambassador to the United Nations, who is CEO of the Counter Extremism Project, told ABC News: Regrettably, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand.”
When Isis soldiers paraded through the centre of Raqqa, more than two-thirds of the vehicles were the white Toyotas with the black emblems, Yahoo News reports.
The Iraqi Ambassador to the United States, Lukman Faily, told ABC that in addition to repurposing older trucks, his government believes Isis has acquired “hundreds” of “brand new” Toyotas in recent years.
Toyota has a “strict policy to not sell vehicle to potential purchasers who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities,” Ed Lewis, a Toyota spokesman, said.
However, he said it is “impossible for any automaker to control indirect or illegal channels through which our vehicles could be misappropriated, stolen or re-sold by independent third parties”.
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