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