KRG Security Council foils attack on diplomatic mission, businesses: statement

The Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) on Monday announced that it had foiled an attack on a diplomatic mission and foreign businesses as it had arrested numerous suspects in a trio operation.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) on Monday announced that it had foiled an attack on a diplomatic mission and foreign businesses as it had arrested numerous suspects in a trio operation, according to a statement.

The statement outlined three arrested groups who are involved in “sabotage” attacks, planned to take place.

In a four-month-long operation, “12 suspects with links to the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party]” were arrested by the security forces, the Council announced, as they planned to attack “a foreign diplomatic mission in Erbil” and assassinate its staff.

Moreover, the group sought to launch attacks on “private companies” from the same country, the statement noted.

The Council did not specify which foreign country’s diplomatic representation or corporates the arrestees intended to attack.

In a shooting incident inside a Turkish-origin restaurant in the capital city Erbil in July 2019, a Turkish consulate staff member was assassinated as two other civilians were killed in the attack.

Later on, the regional security forces released videotaped confessions of suspects claiming that assassination of a Turkish diplomat in the region's capital was planned and carried out by members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Read More: Watch: Security footage of Erbil diplomat killing; Video confessions implicate PKK

Another attack “on a major western brand” was also foiled, the Council said.

Among the suspects, there were two Syrian nationals, the statement revealed, as it noted more arrests are “likely” to be made.

Second group of arrestees

Security forces arrested another group, consisting of eight Iraqi citizens, who planned to attack top KRG officials in the Kurdistan Region and particularly in Duhok province, per the statement.

The suspects sought to “assassinate a KRG governor,” the statement noted without naming which Kurdistan Region governor was the target.  The group, according to the statement, also intended to attack government bodies and properties.

In early October, the Kurdistan Region’s internal security forces announced that the PKK was behind the assassination of a top border crossing official in Duhok province while he was off duty.

Read More: Kurdistan Region says PKK behind assassination of border official

Ghazi Salih Alikhan, the director of security at Sarzeri border-crossing between the autonomous Kurdistan Region and Turkey, was struck by sniper fire and died briefly after being rushed to a hospital in Zakho for emergency medical treatment.

Third group

In its third operation, the regional security forces announced the arrest of seven suspects, comprising a network that initially established to spy on the KRG institutions, including security forces, the statement noted.

The suspects also intended to attack a “[KRG] senior intelligence official and a sitting judge,” it added.

The information collected by the group was also shared with the PKK, among other parties, the statement wrote.

The Council had informed “foreign governments and intelligence services” on the operations recently conducted by the KRG security forces, as the statement noted.

‘Further assistance’

In another part of the statement, the Council seeks “further assistance” from international law enforcement agencies to assist the region through Interpol, as some of the involved suspects are based in Europe.

The KRSC concludes that the Kurdistan Region “will not tolerate any acts of violence against foreign diplomats or businesses in Kurdistan.”

The PKK has been engaged in a decades-long insurgency against Turkey over Kurdish rights and self-rule since the early 1980s in a conflict that has resulted in the death of over 40,000 people on both sides.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany