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Sudden Security Clampdown in Northern City
Kurdish Sources See Infiltration by Extremist Group, Imminent Attack
09/28/2007 5:15 PM ET
Suleimaniya, January 2005.
Patrick Baz/AFP.
Suleimaniya, January 2005.
An intense security crackdown is underway in a northern Iraqi city as security forces apparently respond to reports that an extremist Kurdish group is planning attacks for an upcoming Muslim holiday.

Kurdish security forces, known as Asayish, disclosed heavy security measures over the last two days in Suleimaniya, al-Malaf Press writes in Arabic.

The forces acted on intelligence reports by security sources that a detachment of the banned Kurdish extremist Ansar al-Islam organization had snuck into areas surrounding Suleimaniya, with the intention of launching terrorist attacks during the upcoming Eid al-Fitr, the agency writes, citing anonymous Kurdish security sources.

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and will fall this year in the second week of October on the Western calendar, and often features relaxed security measures for public observances.

Asayish detachments have been deployed to the entry points of the city from all directions, and in the streets and public squares, and are mounting vehicle searches, especially of those fitted with license plates from other provinces, and checking the identification of the passengers, al-Malaf Press writes, and Kurdish security forces make continuous security patrols at night in all areas of the city.

However, speaking on the record, Kurdish security officials denied the specific threats and instead described the intensified security as a general precautionary measure.

Kurdish media outlets had earlier reported the infiltration of Suleimaniya city with explosives-rigged cars, but Hasan al-Nuri, the director of the Asayish in Suleimaniya city denied the accuracy of these reports to al-Malaf Press. Nuri said instead that the whole province of Suleimaniya had been subjected to strict security measures.

Gen. Rozkar, the director of Suleimaniya provincial police also told al-Malaf Press that it was “natural” for the police and the Asayish had taken these precautionary measures at such a time, pointing to a general terrorism threat, and denied any particular infiltration of any extremist groups into the city proper or even its surrounding areas.

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