SULAIMANI – The Counter Terrorism Group (CTG) in the Kurdistan Region on Sunday (May 9) denied involvement in the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani after a report claimed CTG was involved.
“We completely deny any awareness and involvement of our force in such act [Soleimani’s assassination],” CGT said in a statement. “General Qasem Soleimani was a close friend of late Mam Jalal, and the Counter Terrorism Group has fought alongside Qasem Soleimani against terrorism on the same frontline.”
According to a Yahoo News article published on Saturday (May 8), multiple US military branches and intelligence agencies were involved, but so too were the Kurdish CTG forces.
CTG, which is affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), said the article was circulated on media outlets allied to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in the aftermath of “baseless” court rulings against journalists, highlighting the “scandal” of human rights abuses in the KDP zone.
Approval of a six-year-imprisonment sentence against five Duhok journalists and activists by thee KDP-affiliated judges drew wide criticism from PUK, foreign diplomats and human rights activists.
Politburo of PUK said on Friday (May 7) that conviction of Duhok’s five journalists and activists is "unjust" and “a big danger” against democracy, human rights and freedom of speech.
“We take into account that an intelligence agency in the Kurdistan Region interfered in attempts to involve our agency, especially we are aware this intelligence agency recently established a special department to sneak misleading information for internal and international media,” CTG said.
Embroiling PUK in Soleimani’s killing, is an attempt by KDP to compensate for the loss it suffered due to the detention of journalists, it added
Leader of the Guards’ clandestine overseas Quds Force, Soleimani was a pivotal figure who built up Iran’s network of proxy armies across the Middle East. He was killed in a US drone attack in Iraq last year.
His killing was in the planning stages since the earliest days of the Trump administration, the article by Yahoo News claims.
This article was updates at 01:43 p.m.