Kurdistan’s intelligence office reports that perpetrators of Thursday’s hostage-taking incident near Sanandaj was “linked to Wahabi groups connected to foreign elements and world arrogance.”

The announcement also confirmed that four people were killed in the incident, Mehr News Agency reports.

The Kurdistan province intelligence office claimed the hostage-takers were involved in “the killing of environment protection workers, several bank and jewelry store robberies in nearby cities, a recent bombing at the Keshavarz Bank in Sanandaj, and armed attacks against security forces in Azadi Square, Shiekhan Street and Saadi township.”

On Thursday, Iranian media reported that in an armed conflict with police in Sanandaj, an unidentified group of armed people, described as “members of anti-Revolutionary groups”, took a family hostage in Hassanabad.

Provincial officials announced: “The religious terrorist group, which calls itself the Society of Towheed and Jahad, has carried out several terrorist operations in Kurdistan since last year and killed several police commanders, two clergy members and other people in the province.”

Thursday’s armed conflict occurred while the cabinet was visiting Sanandaj. Officials claim the perpetrators had planned bombings during the official government visit.

Wahabism is a Sunni religious sect that was founded by Mohammad Ebn Abdol-Wahab, a Saudi religious leader. Kurdistan has a large Sunni population.