Police break open ISIS terror cell in Kirkuk, Kurdistan

ERBIL, Kurdistan (Rudaw) – Three members of an alleged ISIS terror cell were arrested Tuesday in Kirkuk, a local police official told Rudaw.

“The group was led by a terrorist named Jamil Talib Mahmood who managed to infiltrate Kirkuk from the ISIS-controlled areas in Kirkuk province,” said Brigadier Sarhad Qadir, chief of Kirkuk province suburban police.

Qadir said the members of the group had been involved with the Ansar al-Sunna terror organization prior to joining the Islamic State, or ISIS.

Ansar al-Sunna was a Sunni insurgent group that fought against US troops and their local allies after the 2003 Iraq War.

“The emir [leader] of the group has confessed to many horrifying terrorist acts, including five car bombs in the town of Khurmatu, in southern Kirkuk, that killed dozens of civilians,” Qadir said.

Qadir said the group’s leader Mahmood is a Sunni Turkmen from Khurmatu.

He added that the suspects were transferred to the court’s supervision in accordance with Article 4 of the terrorism law.

Since June 2014, Kirkuk police have arrested 19 terrorist groups, including two gangs of illegal smugglers and two bands of car thieves. In total, 120 people have been arrested and sent to Kirkuk’s anti-terror court.