Ter­ror­ists launch lethal raid in Kirkuk, killing five and in­jur­ing 70

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

Iraqi se­cu­rity forces crit­i­cized for fail­ure to take con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion. PM Barzani ex­pressed KRG’s will­ing­ness to help fight ter­ror­ism. By Salih Wal­ad­bagi At least five peo­ple were killed and around 70 oth­ers wounded on De­cem­ber 4 when a ter­ror­ist group raided the Iraqi In­tel­li­gence head­quar­ters in Kirkuk.

Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Sarhad Qadir, the Kirkuk dis­trict po­lice chief, told Kur­dish me­dia the fight was in­tense and the at­tack­ers used dif­fer­ent kinds of light and heavy weapons.

The ter­ror­ists used a plan which Al-Qaeda-linked groups have im­ple­mented in pre­vi­ous at­tacks on se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tions. The Iraqi In­tel­li­gence head­quar­ters have been the tar­get of two ter­ror­ist at­tacks this year.

The plan started when a car bomb was det­o­nated near the se­cu­rity head­quar­ters, which is sit­u­ated next to Kirkuk’s Univer­sity Pres­i­dency.

A se­cu­rity source who wished to re­main anony­mous told the Kur­dish Globe that fol­low­ing the det­o­na­tion a num­ber of ter­ror­ists con­ducted an or­ga­nized raid on the head­quar­ters. He said they tried to re­lease an im­pris­oned se­nior ter­ror­ist who was in the build­ing. One of the ter­ror­ists who en­tered the build­ing blew him­self up among the po­lice­men.

Around five snipers started shoot­ing at the po­lice and se­cu­rity forces from the rooftop of the Jawahir Mall op­po­site the In­tel­li­gence build­ing, while sev­eral oth­ers took up po­si­tion in­side the In­tel­li­gence com­pound.

As the fight be­came fiercer, the num­ber of ter­ror­ists in­creased and the in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials tele­phoned the Kur­dis­tan Demo­cratic Party (KDP) and Pa­tri­otic Union of Kur­dis­tan (PUK) se­cu­rity forces to ask for their help.

“The ter­ror­ists used heavy weapons, and many po­lice­men and mem­bers of the se­cu­rity forces were killed or wounded,” he said, adding that, for­tu­nately, the ter­ror­ists failed to free their tar­get.

As the fight con­tin­ued, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment (KRG) sent anti-ter­ror forces to help the se­cu­rity forces flush out the armed gun­men.

How­ever, the snipers pre­vented the se­cu­rity forces from launch­ing an at­tack dur­ing the day and they had to wait un­til night­fall.

Ac­cord­ing to se­cu­rity sources, gun­men wear­ing sui­cide vests stormed the mall and took shop­pers hostage. The se­cu­rity forces have been crit­i­cized for fail­ing to take con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion sooner.

Na­jmaldin Karim, the gov­er­nor of Kirkuk, told the AFP he knew the ter­ror­ists were plan­ning an at­tack. He told the se­cu­rity forces not to be de­ceived with how quiet it had been here in Kirkuk in re­cent months.

Af­ter hours of in­tense fight­ing, the anti-ter­ror forces in co­op­er­a­tion with the Kirkuk se­cu­rity forces took con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion and killed all the ter­ror­ists. Ac­cord­ing to early re­ports pub­lished in the Kur­dish me­dia, there were two Kur­dish ter­ror­ists among the dead, but Bri­gadier Qadir re­jected the re­ports and said the ter­ror­ists have yet to be iden­ti­fied.

As the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion wors­ens in Kirkuk and the rest of Iraq, Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani ex­pressed the KRG’s readi­ness to co­op­er­ate with all rel­e­vant par­ties to con­front ter­ror­ism. Sev­eral vic­tims of the fight­ing were sent to Er­bil hos­pi­tals for the nec­es­sary treat­ment.

Peo­ple say the re­cent vi­o­lence across Iraq is a re­flec­tion of the civil war in neigh­bour­ing Syria, with ter­ror­ists en­ter­ing Iraq across the Syr­ian bor­der.

An Iraqi po­lice­man in­spects the af­ter­math of a gun bat­tle be­tween in­sur­gents and se­cu­rity forces the Po­lice In­tel­li­gence Depart­ment fol­low­ing a com­plex as­sault in the re­li­giously-mixed city of Kirkuk.

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