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Turkish diplomat killed by gunmen in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil




Security forces gathered at the scene of a shot outside a restaurant in Irbil, Iraq, on Wednesday, July 17, 2019. (AP)

Gunmen killed a Turkish diplomat and another man during lunchtime at a restaurant in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil on Wednesday, an extraordinary outbreak of violence in the capital of the semi-economic Kurdish region in the country.

The attack, by unknown gunmen, killed the consul general of Turkey in Irbil, as well as an Iraqi citizen with him, said Ahmed al-Sahhaf, spokesman for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. A civilian at the scene was also injured, Sahhaf said.

No immediate claims of responsibility. Turkey launches a military campaign for several years in northern Iraq against the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, using airstrikes, artillery and special forces.

The PKK, which launched a decade-long insurgency against the state of Turkey, was designated as a terrorist organization of Turkey, the United States and the European Union. On Saturday, Turkey announced a mission seeking to destroy the PKK hideouts in northern Iraq.

The Foreign Ministry of Turkey said in a statement that a "official of the Consulate General of Irbil was killed as a result of a massive armed attack while he was outside the building of the General Consul." The statement did not mention the officer or mentioned another victim of the attack.

Shooting took place at Huqqabaz, a Turkish cafe in an area of ​​Irbil. Photos published in local news websites showed a broken window in front of the restaurant and what looked like blood spatters in an outside car.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Irbil's attack on a Twitter message and wrote that Turkey is working with Iraqi and local authorities "to ensure that the attack perpetrators are quickly found."

The US Embassy in Iraq also condemned a statement posted on Facebook stating "the unity of the defense and safety of foreign diplomats and diplomatic missions in Iraq."

Fahim delivered from Istanbul .


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