Iraqi Kurds arrest suspects in killing of Turkish vice consul

Kurdish security members stand guard near a restaurant where Turkish diplomats and Turkish consulate employee were killed in Erbil, Iraq July 17, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 21 July 2019

Iraqi Kurds arrest suspects in killing of Turkish vice consul

  • No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Ankara on Thursday launched a "comprehensive air operation" against the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan's Qandil mountain area
  • Since May, Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign against Qandil to root out the PKK, considered a "terror organisation" by Ankara for its three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state

ERBIL, IRAQ: Iraqi Kurdish authorities announced on Saturday they had arrested two suspects involved in the murder of three people, including a Turkish diplomat, in the regional capital Erbil this week.

The autonomous region’s security council said its counterterrorism unit had arrested Mazloum Dag, a 27-year-old from Turkey’s Diyarbakir region.
The council had put out a wanted notice for Dag a day earlier in connection to Wednesday’s killing of Turkish Vice Consul Osman Kose and two Iraqi nationals in the regional capital Erbil.
It later announced it had also arrested Mohammad Biskesiz, identifying him as “one of the accomplices of Mazloum Dag.”
It did not specify Biskesiz’s nationality or whether he was apprehended with Dag or separately.
Turkey’s Anadolu state news agency said the suspect is the brother of Dersim Dag, a member of Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish party, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
The HDP, the country’s second largest opposition group, is regularly accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of links to Turkey’s outlawed separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
It “strongly” condemned the Erbil attack, calling it an “absolutely unacceptable provocation attempt.”
The HDP also slammed the accusation that one of its deputies was “designated as a target because of his brother,” without mentioning any names.

FASTFACT

Erbil’s security council had put out a wanted notice for Mazloum Dag a day earlier in connection to Wednesday’s killing of Turkish Vice Consul Osman Kose and two Iraqi nationals in the regional capital Erbil.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Ankara on Thursday launched a “comprehensive air operation” against the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Qandil mountain area.
Since May, Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign against Qandil to root out the PKK, considered a “terror organization” by Ankara for its three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state.

PKK targeted
Other airstrikes on Thursday night targeted “PKK bases and members” in the Makhmur area south of Iraq’s northern city of Mosul, wounding two in a displacement camp, local sources told AFP.
The attack on Wednesday saw at least one gunman with two pistols fire on a group of diplomats in a restaurant in Erbil. Kose and one Iraqi died on Wednesday, while the second Iraqi succumbed to his wounds overnight.


Israeli court bars ‘racist’ candidates from September poll

Updated 34 min 12 sec ago

Israeli court bars ‘racist’ candidates from September poll

JERUSALEM: Israel’s Supreme Court has barred two members of an extreme-right party many view as racist from running in a September 17 general election.
The court ruled that candidates Benzi Gopstein and Baruch Marzel, of the Jewish Power party could not stand, quoting a law barring “incitement to racism” by candidates, according to a court statement late Sunday.
Jewish Power members are followers of late racist rabbi Meir Kahane, whose Kach movement wanted to chase Arabs from Israel.
The ideology of Kahane, assassinated in New York in 1990, also inspired Baruch Goldstein, who carried out a massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers in Hebron in 1994.
The court rejected petitions to ban the Jewish Power as a party and upheld the candidacy of West Bank settler Itamar Ben-Gvir, who heads its electoral list.
Ben-Gvir acknowledges having a picture of Goldstein in his living room, but has reportedly said it is because he was a physician who rescued Jews targeted in Palestinian attacks.
Indicted 53 times since his youth, Ben-Gvir boasts of having been cleared in 46 cases. He decided to study law on the recommendation of judges so he could defend himself.
He now represents settlers accused of violence, including those allegedly responsible for an arson attack that killed an 18-month-old Palestinian boy and his parents in 2015 in the West Bank, an incident that drew widespread revulsion.
Jewish Power advocates removing “Israel’s enemies from our land,” a reference to Palestinians and Arab Israelis who carry out attacks.
It also calls for Israel annexing the occupied West Bank, where more than 2.5 million Palestinians live.
Alone it was considered unlikely to garner the 3.25 percent of votes cast necessary to get into parliament.
But a deal mentored by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw it entering an electoral alliance with two other far-right parties, improving its chances.
The pact drew disgust from many in Israel and among Jewish communities abroad, particularly in the United States.
For Netanyahu, the deal ahead of what is expected to be a close election was pure politics.
He defended it by saying he does not want any right-wing votes to go to waste as he plans his next coalition.