SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region – 20-12-2013 – RUDAW – Security forces in the Kurdistan Region conducted night raids on several mosques in Sulaimani, confiscating computers and identity papers, in an apparent pre-emptive move against increasing recruitment of Kurdish youth by Islamist groups in Syria.
According to Rudaw sources, security forces raided at least five mosques in different neighborhoods of Sulaimani in a single night. “Around 8 pm, a security force in civilian clothes raided our mosque, seized three laptops and took the IDs of one of the students,” said Jalal Sadiq, an imam of the Shahidani Azadi mosque. “We have legal permission from the ministry of religious endowment, we are not illegal” of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG),” he protested.
Lahor Sheikh Jangi, head of the KRG’s intelligence department, said in an interview with Kurdistani Nwe that 300 young men from the Kurdistan Region and Kirkuk have gone to Syria to train as fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS), al-Qaeda’s regional affiliate. “According to information from our sources, 25 Kurds have expressed readiness to go on suicide missions and we believe three of them took part in the Kirkuk attack,” he said, referring to a terrorist raid early this month at the intelligence services building in Kirkuk.
“We also care about the security and stability of this country,” Sadiq protested. “The search could come during the day and it was unnecessary to carry out a raid on us at night,” the imam protested.
He claimed the security forces did not have a court order to search the mosque. “They did not have any court order and had civilian clothes on. They also raided at least 10 other mosques,” Sadiq told Rudaw. According to unconfirmed data, at least 10 Kurdish men have been killed in fighting alongside Islamic groups locked in conflict against the regime of Bashar Assad. At least 17 others have been arrested upon return from Syria to the Kurdistan Region. Many of the young Kurds who go to Syria have no previous Islamist connections, posing a challenge to Kurdish security forces trying to track down recruits before they have a chance to leave Kurdistan.
“The biggest fear is that these are students without any previous issues with the security department. Suddenly, this person buys a plane ticket and goes off to Syria. When he returns, he has become a terrorist,” explained the Kurdish intelligence chief. – See more at: http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/191220131#sthash.dwkoJ9hx.dpuf