ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Friends and family members of the young men killed during their armed attack on the Erbil Governorate building on Monday have told Kurdistan 24 that all three had become radicalized in recent months and had been spending most of their time at local mosques.
During the four-hour siege which ended in the early afternoon when security forces completed storming the building, one employee they took hostage was killed and another five injured.
Later, the Counter-Terrorism Department of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) said in a statement that the attackers were from Erbil and identified them.
“Their names were Bilal Sulaiman, born in 2000; Rahel Mohammed, born in 2002; and Abdulrahman Rahim, born in 2002,” the statement read. “They were all high school students.”
In an interview with Kurdistan 24 on Monday, Tariq Nouri, Director-General of Erbil Asayish (Security) confirmed that they were “members of the terrorist group of Da’esh [Islamic State (IS)].”
Kurdistan 24 correspondent Hemin Hussein visited the neighborhood of the attackers to obtain further information about their background.
Bilal’s mother told Kurdistan 24 that her son told her in the morning that he was going to mosque for the morning prayer and had never returned. At the time she was interviewed, she did not know yet that her son has carried out the attack, or that he had been killed.
One of the friends told Kurdistan 24 that Abdulrahman Rahim isolated himself after he started to spend most of his time attending mosque.
"Before, we had nice talks, and we were all laughing and having fun," said the friend. "But later, he turned Salafi, always saying, "May God forgive us all."
Editing by John J. Catherine