ERBIL: At least one gunman killed three people including the Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region in an attack Wednesday in the regional capital of Erbil, a police source told AFP.
“Three people, including the Turkish vice consul, were killed in an armed attack targeting the consul and the consulate’s employees in a restaurant in Erbil,” the source said, adding the attackers had fled the scene.
Witnesses in the city said checkpoints had been quickly set up inside and around the neighborhood of Ainkawa, which hosts numerous restaurants and the Turkish consulate.
Turkey confirmed that an “employee” at its Erbil consulate was killed in a shooting. Turkish presidency has pledged to ‘respond’ to killing of the diplomat.
The attack was not immediately claimed.
1 Turkish diplomat was killed , 2 were wounded in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil
The shooting took place at a restaurant in the city where the diplomats were dining on Wednesday pic.twitter.com/PlZj0fGKLz
— S.C (@cns6720) July 17, 2019
Turkey is waging a major military offensive in Iraq’s mountainous northern region to root out pockets of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The PKK, seen as a “terrorist” group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 and operates rear bases in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.
Several rocket attacks have targeted diplomatic missions in Iraq in recent months, including rockets near the US and UK embassies in Baghdad’s “Green Zone.”
The US in May ordered all non-essential personnel of its Baghdad embassy and Erbil consulate to leave the country.
And in June, protesters gathered outside the Bahraini embassy in Baghdad,
Authorities in Iraq, which is witnessing a period of relative calm since declaring victory against the Daesh group in 2017, have pledged to protect embassies.