It has been discovered that an Islamic mullah who had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State in 2014 was, to some extent, behind the attack on the Kurdistan Regional Government’s headquarters in Erbil last month. The recording of Mullah Ismail Susayi confessing to his Islamic State connections was provided by the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) this week. Susayi explicitly admitted to being part of the July 23 attack, in which three ISIS militants stormed the Erbil governorate building.

Mullah Ismail Susayi spoke to the KRSC about his induction into ISIS saying that,

At the end of 2014, three young men visited my mosque who were connected to the Islamic State. After evening prayer, those men talked about Islamic State with me and praised the group. One of these three men, Abdul Manaf, told me once that I think Islamic State knows and loves you. He asked me to talk to the Islamic State. I even talked to one of my high school students named Sleman Sheikh Abdullah Zikhani who was in the Islamic State. He told me he still accepts me as his imam.”

The KRSC uncovered messages that Mullah Susayi had sent to the Islamic State leadership as well, some of the messages were voicemails dating as far back as 2014 — the same year that the Islamic State made its initial push into Iraqi-Kurdistan, capturing Mosul and Sinjar as well as attempting to invade Kirkuk only to have the Kurdish Peshmerga force them back. Susayi had reported to ISIS leaders on the Peshmerga’s activities, locations, and military capabilities. He had even attempted to directly contact Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi during this time, a man who is still being hunted by coalition forces to this day. In addition to all this, Susayi had simultaneously gathered weapons and funds for the caliphate.

The July 23 attack occurred when three ISIS sleeper cell militants abducted two hostages during a raid on the Erbil governorate building, one hostage was killed. All three attackers were killed by Kurdish security forces during the standoff; they were identified as Bilal Sleman Abdulrahman (18), Abdulrahman Rahim Qader (16), Rahel Mohammad Rostam (16). KRSC spokesman announced this week that another two military-aged males, identified as Mohammed Sherzad Yasin (19) and Mohammed Jabar Salih (19), were arrested and confessed to assisting in the planning and execution of the operation.

Featured image courtesy of Sarchia Khursheed [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons