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Turkish diplomat shot dead in Iraqi Kurdistan Turkish diplomat and Iraqi civilian shot dead in Iraqi Kurdistan
(about 2 hours later)
A Turkish diplomat was among two people killed in an attack in Irbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan Region. A Turkish diplomat was among two people shot dead on Wednesday in Irbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan Region.
The victims are thought to be Turkey's deputy consul general in the city and a civilian. Turkey has already vowed to retaliate. The victims, who were eating at a restaurant when gunmen opened fire, were reportedly Turkey's deputy consul in the city and an Iraqi civilian.
The diplomat was among a group of people eating at a restaurant when gunmen opened fire. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the "heinous attack".
No-one has so far claimed the attack, but Kurdish rebels who have fought Turkey for decades operate in the area. No-one has so far said they were behind it. The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought Turkey for decades and has bases in Iraq, has denied any role.
In a statement on Twitter, Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said a "necessary response will be given to those who committed this treacherous attack". "We have no knowledge about an incident of shooting and killing of Turkish consulate officials in Irbil", a spokesman for the group's military wing, the People's Defence Forces (HPG), told the Iraqi Kurdish Dwarozh News website.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also tweeted that they were working with the Iraqi authorities to find the perpetrators.
"I condemn the hateful attack against our consulate workers in Erbil," he wrote. "I wish God's mercy on our staff member who was martyred in the attack."
What do we know about the attack?What do we know about the attack?
Details are still emerging, but the shooting took place on Wednesday afternoon at HuQQabaz restaurant in Irbil's Empire City neighbourhood. The shooting took place at about 14:30 (11:30 GMT) on Wednesday at HuQQabaz restaurant on Airport Road, between Irbil's Dream City and Empire districts.
Initial reports said that three diplomats had been killed in the attack. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said three assailants opened fire at the restaurant, killing the Turkish diplomat and the Iraqi civilian, and injuring another Iraqi. The diplomat and the Iraqis were sitting at adjacent tables, he added.
But the Kurdistan Region's internal security forces, known as the Asayish, later said that two people had been killed, including Turkey's deputy consul general. Initial reports said that three Turkish diplomats were killed.
The Asayish did not say if the other two victims were also Turkish consulate staff. The Kurdistan Region's internal security forces, the Asayish, said it had launched a full investigation and had contacted Turkish diplomats to offer them assistance.
The three attackers are thought to still be at large, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told broadcaster NTV. How has Turkey reacted?
"We are collaborating with the Iraqi authorities to find the perpetrators, to find out the motive, and to make sure all details are unveiled," he said. Mr Cavusoglu said Turkey was "collaborating with the Iraqi authorities to find the perpetrators, to find out the motive, and to make sure all details are unveiled".
An Iraqi foreign ministry spokesman also condemned the killing, and said it would be closely following the investigation by the regional Kurdish government. "We will send a delegation [to Irbil] if necessary," he added.
What's the background? Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for President Erdogan, wrote on Twitter: "The necessary response will be given to those who staged this treacherous attack."
The shooting comes as Turkey continues its crackdown on Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in the area. The Kurdistan Regional Government said it strongly condemned the killing and vowed to find the perpetrators and hold them accountable. "We will never allow Kurdistan Region's peace and security to be harmed," it added.
More than 40,000 people have been killed in the PKK's conflict with Turkey over Kurdish autonomy, which began in 1984. An Iraqi foreign ministry spokesman said it would closely follow the investigation.
PKK fighters use mountainous areas along the border between Turkey and Iraq's Kurdistan Region as a sanctuary and to stage attacks. In response, the Turkish military frequently carries out cross-border air strikes and ground raids on PKK positions. Who might be behind the attack?
Last Friday, Turkey announced that it had launched an operation involving commandos, air strikes and artillery targeting PKK positions in the Xwakurk (Hakurk) area, near the borders with Iran and Turkey. Asked whether the PKK was behind the shooting, Mr Cavusoglu said it was not yet clear if it was a "terrorist attack". The Iraqis could have been the targets, he noted.
Turkey has also put pressure on Iraq's government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to help it contain the PKK. PKK fighters, who have been fighting for autonomy for Turkey's mainly Kurdish south-east since 1984, have used the remote mountainous areas along the Iraq-Turkey border as a sanctuary and to stage attacks on Turkish forces. In response, Turkey has carried out cross-border air and artillery strikes and ground raids.
Analysis Last week, Turkey said it had launched an operation involving commandos, air strikes and artillery targeting PKK positions in the Xwakurk (Hakurk) area.
Guney Yildiz, BBC News The PKK meanwhile confirmed that one of its senior leaders - Diyar Gharib Mohammed, who sat on the presidential council of an umbrella organisation to which the PKK belongs - had been killed in a Turkish air strike.
Although no-one has said they were behind the attack, it coincides with the killing of several senior PKK leaders in Turkish air strikes on Iraq's Kurdistan Region, as well as an ongoing cross-border operation by the Turkish military, and the reported build-up of Turkish troops on the frontier with Kurdish-controlled northern Syria. In June, a group called the Self-Defence Forces of Southern Kurdistan was established in the region to attack Turkish military outposts on Iraqi territory and remove "occupiers". It was not clear whether the new group was linked to the PKK.
Turkey's targeting of the PKK leaders - including Diyar Gharib Mohammed, who sat on the presidential council of an umbrella organisation to which the PKK belongs - was a significant development. For most of the past four decades of conflict both sides generally refrained from targeting each other's leaders.
Wednesday's attack is likely to lead to the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which controls Irbil, coming under pressure from Turkey to join its operation against the PKK.
Last month, a group called the Self-Defence Forces of Southern Kurdistan was established in the region to attack Turkish military outposts and remove Turkish "occupiers". It was not clear whether the new group was linked to the PKK.