ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A group of unknown gunmen on Wednesday night opened fire and shot at least one rocket at a women’s protection office in Sulaimani, causing extensive material damages to vehicles parked near the building.
“At 12 o’clock last night, we were alerted of the incident and upon arriving there, we discovered on the [security] camera footage that from a 150 meter distance, our office was attacked with Kalashnikovs and RPG [launchers],” Shorsh Ali, the head of Sulaimani’s eastern office of the Kurdistan Region’s General-Directorate for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, told Kurdistan 24.
“Luckily, no injuries” were caused by the attack. However, there had been “material damage to the office’s, our employees’, and the neighbors’ cars,” Ali added.
The Directorate operates under the region’s Ministry of Interior, which women can visit to lodge complaints against family members or their spouse.
In cases of threats of violence or a general fear of returning home, women are accommodated in secret shelters until their issues are resolved.
The directorate has taken up the incident with the relevant court, and the police have launched an investigation to catch the group behind the attack, according to Ali.
Although an official statement is yet to be made on the incident, such attacks have occurred in the past with relatives trying to intimidate women who sought the aid of the directorate into returning home and drop potential charges they might have leveled against them.
The directorate recently published a report on the statistics of incidents involving women in the region.
They revealed numbers related to local cases involving violence against women, noting there were 54 cases of suicide and 90 cases of self-immolation registered in the Kurdistan Region over nine months.
It also mentioned that 113 women were burned in other instances, either deliberately or by accident, in the region.
The directorate added that a total of 7,192 complaints had been lodged by women across the Kurdistan Region, with Erbil Province registering the highest number on the list.
It also received 87 reports of sexual assaults.
Editing by Nadia Riva
(Additional reporting by Kurdistan 24 correspondent in Sulaimani Aram Bakhtiyar)