Discarded IS receipts offer glimpse into former Mosul life

This Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 photo shows a receipt found in an Islamic State group base in eastern Mosul for taxi fare from Hit in Iraq’s Anbar province to Mosul. Hit _ retaken by Iraqi forces in April 2016 _ was an important logistical and supply hub for IS as it sat along the Euphrates river valley and at the cross roads of territory controlled by IS in Iraq and in Syria. (AP Photo)
This Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 photo shows a receipt found in an Islamic State group base in eastern Mosul for a plasma screen television from “Wilayat Anbar” the Islamic State name for Iraq’s Anbar province. This shows how robust the trade of goods was within IS-controlled Iraq was and suggests it was equally easy for fighters and weapons and other military supplies to make such trips. (AP Photo)
This Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 photo shows a an official Islamic State group receipt for gas from Raqqa, Syria. It was found in an IS base in eastern Mosul and is dated early 2016 in the Islamic calendar and is likely from a trip a Mosul-based fighter took to the Syrian part of the so-called caliphate. (AP Photo)
This Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 photo shows a February, 2016 order of takeaway chicken, rice, Pepsi, water and appetizers. The food is from a fast food restaurant called “Daleel” in the Shurta neighborhood of Mosul. Iraq near the Islamic State militant base where it was uncovered. (AP Photo)
This Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 photo shows a generator bill detailing a switch number, amount of electricity and a month cost of 70,000 Iraqi dinars or about $53. The receipt was uncovered in an Islamic Stare militant base in eastern Mosul and is dated January 2016. (AP Photo)
This Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 photo shows an internet username and password uncovered in an Islamic State group base in eastern Mosul. While internet and even mobile phones were strictly outlawed for civilians under IS in Mosul, receipts like this suggest the group heavily relied on the technology to coordinate operations and run their so-called state. (AP Photo)
This Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 photo shows an undated receipt for two trips by car: Two flat tires, a car wash and 155,000 dinars (or $120) for fuel which suggests a long trip. It was uncovered in an Islamic State group base in eastern Mosul and the numbers are written in english numerals which suggest a foreign fighter wrote it. (AP Photo)
This Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 photo shows a receipt for construction and electrical supplies from a store called “Shop of the brothers” in Mosul, meaning it was likely run and owned by Islamic State group fighters. One of the items reads “Turkish wire” and is dated Jan. 3 2016 suggesting that the shop keeper was able to import the wire himself - or it could just be slang used to describe a certain type of wire grade. (AP Photo)
This Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 photo shows a receipt for two chargers for Hewlett Packard computers. The paper is stamped from the “Mecca shop for computers, technology and mobile phones,” and the total amount is 28,000 Iraqi dinars or about 20 dollars. (AP Photo)

MOSUL, Iraq — Receipts from taxi rides, ledgers listing internet usage for the privileged few and random logbooks documenting an ever tighter economy are just some of the documents that Islamic State militants left behind when they fled eastern Mosul in the face of advancing Iraqi forces.

The discarded papers and bundles of receipts, found on a recent visit to a home used as a base for the militants in the city, offer an unusual glimpse into the Islamic State group's daily life and economy.

In the months leading up to the Mosul offensive, IS fighters were increasingly pushed underground by punishing U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.

The bookkeeping reveals how IS bases had become increasingly like bunkers, but also how easily the fighters were able to move within their so-called caliphate just a year ago, when it spanned across western Iraq and a third of Syria.

Most of the receipts were from early 2016, when IS had only just lost control of the city of Ramadi in western Anbar province, but still controlled about a quarter of Iraq's territory. Slips of paper document taxi rides back and forth to IS-held towns across the Iraq-Syria border.

According to the receipts, Hit was a frequent destination — a small crossroads town along the Euphrates River that was an important logistics and supply hub for IS. The fuel for the six-hour drive cost only 29,000 Iraqi Dinars or about $22. The drives were likely runs to pick up supplies or hold operational meetings.

Another slip of paper on IS stationary bills a Mosul-based passenger, likely an IS fighter, for gas purchased in the Syrian city of Raqqa — the de facto capital of the IS group.

Stacks of papers also testify that the group kept close tabs of utilities such as electricity and internet usage. Monthly cards bearing users' internet names and passwords were filed with the base's expenses.

While internet and mobile phones were strictly outlawed under IS in Mosul to prevent civilians from becoming government informants, the internet receipts suggest IS used centralized internet connections across the city.

IS-held territory in and around Mosul and in Anbar has significantly shrunk over the past months — the roads fighters once easily traveled by taxi in early 2016 are now dotted with government checkpoints and airstrike craters.

The western half of Mosul, which is still under IS control, is almost entirely cut off from territory the militants hold in Syria. In Mosul's east, the abandoned IS bases sit ransacked by security forces, intelligence officers and curious neighbors.

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