Islamic radical cleric Ismael Susayi accused of Islamic State ISIS links arrested in Iraqi Kurdistan
Security forces in Iraqi Kurdistan capital city of Erbil have arrested an Islamic preacher over alleged links to the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group, a security source said.
The announcement comes a day after the Erbil governor’s building was attacked by suspected ISIS supporters.
According to Rudaw, the three Erbil attackers may have had contact with the detained cleric. This may explain why security forces chose to announce the arrest on Tuesday.
“Mullah Ismael Susayi was arrested three weeks ago and had connections to ISIS. His case has been referred to court,” Tariq Nuri, head of Erbil Asayesh (security), told Rudaw.
Susayi has confessed that he had links with ISIS, the source said.
“We arrested a web of terrorists previously who claimed involvement with Mullah Ismael Susayi,” it added.
According to the security source, a cache of weapons and ammunition was found at the house of Susayi before his arrest.
Three armed men on Monday broke into the building of Erbil Government in what officials described was a “terrorist attack,” killing one and wounding another four.
The Kurdish security forces killed the three gunmen after four hours of clashes.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Islamic State jihadist group claimed a deadly attack on the interior ministry in Erbil in 2015.
The previous year the group was blamed for a suicide bombing that killed at least four people outside the Erbil Provincial Council Building.
Susayi was fired by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Religious and Endowment Ministry in 2010 and banned from preaching. He later published his sermons on YouTube and other media platforms. He was also arrested in 2011 by the Asayesh.
Nabaz Ismael, spokesperson of the KRG religious ministry, said it played no part in Susai’s arrest.
“The arrest of preacher Ismael Susayi has nothing to do with us,” Ismael said, adding they were in constant coordination with the security forces.