Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—Last month’s suicide attack on the headquarters of the Security Directorate in Erbil, capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, which the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for, was intended to free ISIS-linked prisoners, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.
The attack took place on September 29 and led to the death of the six attackers along with six local security personnel, while 62 security officers and local residents were also injured.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, Kurdish sources said that the aim of the attackers was to “storm the prison that belongs to the Directorate of Security, which is believed to hold detainees affiliated with the organization [ISIS] who have been arrested in previous pursuits by the local forces.”
“But they failed to break through the prison’s main gate after the prison guards confronted and killed them,” the source added.
In a statement posted online, ISIS said that the attack came in response to threats from the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masoud Barzani, to send fighters to Kurdish areas in Syria to fight Islamists threatening the region’s inhabitants.
According to the statement, the “training for the attack took a full month.”
Barzani threatened to intervene in the Syrian crisis following reports of massacres of the Kurdish population northeastern Syria by Al-Qaeda-linked groups like ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front.
However, according to the report submitted by the commission the KRG sent to investigate the claims in Syria, no massacres had been committed.
The attack was the first suicide bombing to take place in Iraqi Kurdistan for six years.