Erbil – Iraqi Kurdistan’s Asayish security forces in Erbil said they have arrested five Kurdish individuals who wanted to join the Islamic State (ISIS) group.
“As part of Erbil Asayish’s ongoing efforts, today a group of 5 suspects affiliated with ISIS terrorists was arrested,” the Kurdistan Region’s Security Council (KRSC) said on Sunday.
“The individuals planned to joint ISIS in Hawija, South West of Kirkuk,” the KRSC said.
Hawar Yusuf Abdul-Karim, Halmat Omar Osman Ahmed, Hani Ibrahim Rashid Faraj, Farhang Abas Abdul-Rahman Rashid and Abdulla Baqi Abdulla Rashid have been arrested over “terrorism” charges.
The arrest shows that there are still some Kurds that want to join the ranks of ISIS, although most Kurdish members of ISIS were killed in battle or coalition air strikes.
The Kurds have provided intelligence to the US-led coalition which led to targeted airstrikes taking out local senior ISIS leaders such as Mullah Shwan in September 2015 near Hawija and Falah al-Kurdi in October 2015.
Hawija is part of the Kirkuk province of Iraq, 30 miles west of Kirkuk city and north of Baghdad. The town has a population of about 100,000 inhabitants and has been under ISIS control since 2014. Some Kurds, such as Mulah Shwan and Falah al-Kurdi, took leading positions in Hawija before they were killed by coalition air strikes.
Noteworthy, ISIS used Hawija to plan attacks on the Kurdistan Region.
While Kirkuk city and its environs are controlled by the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Asayish, the Hawija town outside of Kirkuk is still under ISIS control since 2014. Operations to take Hawija were delayed after the Iraqi government decided to first destroy the Islamic State in Mosul–which is ISIS de facto capital in Iraq.
This is not the first high-profile anti-ISIS arrest operation by the Kurdish security forces.
On 1 February, the Kurdistan Region’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) and Kirkuk’s Asayish arrested six ISIS members in Bajwan in northwest of Kirkuk and foiled their planned attacks.
And on 31 January, the CTD confirmed that Ali Sleman Osman, the planner of the Ainkawa terrorist attack that targeted the US consulate on 17 April 2015, was arrested.
Ranj Talabani, a member of the Kurdish Zaniyari intelligence, in March said 500 to 600 Kurds have joined the Islamic State. However, most of them were killed.
Furthermore, ISIS propaganda in Kurdish has decreased significantly on social media and the internet, although the latest edition of the ISIS magazine Rumiyah was also published in Kurdish.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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