KRG counterterrorism forces nullify Erbil attack
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (K24) – Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) arrested three Islamic State (IS) sleeper cells today in Erbil during a suicide operation targeting the city, according to their press release revealed today.
KRSC Joint Investigations and Operations Team announced that they foiled an IS (Da'esh) suicide attack targeting Erbil, the capital city of Kurdistan Region. Three IS terrorists were arrested, and one suicide vest and six bombs were confiscated after the successful Kurdish security intelligence forces operation.
The insurgents confessed their affiliation with IS during Kurdish security forces interrogations. In a video released by the KRSC, the captured terrorists revealed their identities and divulged their individual roles in the failed attack(s).
One of the men arrested, Hazim Mohammed Dawoud al-Jibouri, 39, is from Miqdadiyah, 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Baghdad and was a truck driver who joined IS after they seized his truck. He explained in the video how he helped transfer explosives to Kurdistan Region.
“During my visit to the Islamic Court [to get back my truck from IS] I met someone called Abu Abdul Muttalib…because I was a truck driver he [Muttalib] asked me to transfer some explosives to Kirkuk or Kurdistan Region…I transported one suicide vest and six bombs to Kirkuk and then to Erbil,” Jibouri said.
He explained that Asayish (Security) forces in Erbil arrested him once he entered the capital’s checkpoint and confiscated the explosives. After the arrest, he revealed the identity of the suicide bomber to Asayish.
Khalaf Ismail Khalaf, 27, also from Miqdadiyah, was supposed to receive the suicide vest from Jibouri and carry out a terrorist attack in Erbil.
“I joined al-Qaeda from 2007 to 2010. When the [security] situation in the area got worse, I moved to Sulaimani, Kurdistan Region,” Khalaf said.
“I started working in Sulaimani, and I even had a Kurdistan Region residency card. In 2014, somebody from my town called Abu Abd called me and asked me to reaffirm my affiliation with IS,” he explained.
After Khalaf joined IS, Abu Abd instructed him to receive a suicide vest from Jibouri and carry out an attack in Erbil. Asayish forces arrested Khalaf when he was handed the garment.
“On the scheduled day of the attack, [Jibouri] called, and when I went to the agreed place, Erbil Asayish ambushed and arrested us,” Khalaf said.
Junayd Khalid Balasim, Khalaf’s brother-in-law, accompanied him while receiving the suicide vest. “He had come with me to take my car home after I left for the suicide attack,” Khalaf confessed.
Reporting by Ehsan Mamakani
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany and Benjamin Kweskin