KRG airs confession tape of ISIS cell plotting attacks near Erbil Citadel

A senior ISIS leader known only as Abu Harith had ordered the group of men to plant sticky bombs in places frequented by foreigners and a place close to Erbil Citadel.
The seven-member alleged ISIS cell who were arrested in Erbil recently. The faces of three of the suspects have been blurred out because they are aged under 18. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)
The seven-member alleged ISIS cell who were arrested in Erbil recently. The faces of three of the suspects have been blurred out because they are aged under 18. (Photo: Kurdistan 24)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) on Sunday said that the Counter-Terrorism Directorate (CTD) had thwarted a plot by ISIS suspects to carry out multiple attacks in the capital city of Erbil.

The KRSC said that a CTD unit arrested a seven-member ISIS cell from the Iraqi Nineveh, Anbar, and Diyala province and includes three 18-year-olds.

A senior ISIS leader known only as Abu Harith had ordered the group of men to plant sticky bombs in places frequented by foreigners and the Erbil bazaar, the KRSC said in a confession tape of the cell's members.

One suspect identified himself as Haidar J'heshi, 18, and said his father and grandfather joined ISIS in Mosul when the terrorist group overran the city in 2014. Both men died in ISIS activities in 2016, he added.

J'heshii said he was asked in July by Abu Harith to record videos inside Erbil to show that ISIS was active in the city. He sent the tapes to the point man to be posted on outlets affiliated with the terrorist organization.

Ahmad J'heshi, 30, was a second suspect the recording showed. He is from Mosul and said his father joined ISIS after being from prison in 2014.

Ahmad's father was killed in an air raid shortly after, he said.

Both Haidar and Ahmad said they were able to enter Erbil using forged identification cards.

"Abu Harith introduced us to two people--Mohammed (Abu Yaqin) and Zaffer (Abu Ali)--and asked us [the cell] to identify several locations frequented by foreigners," Ahmad added.

"He asked us to target a place around the [Erbil] Citadel."

Ahmad explained they picked as their target a traffic police vehicle close to the Citadel to plant a sticky bomb under and that Zaffer was ordered to film the attack to then use to claim responsibility.

One of the suspects, who was not named because he was under 18, said he joined the ISIS cell because his father was a member and was killed in an airstrike.

Related Article: Kurdistan Region releases video of ISIS suspect confessing to plan for Erbil jailbreak