Turkish diplomat among two killed in shooting in Iraq's Erbil

Turkish diplomat among two killed in shooting in Iraq's Erbil

At least three people were shot and two were killed in Wednesday's attack, including an employee of the Turkish consulate, intelligence sources told Al Jazeera. The state-run Iraqi news agency identified him as the deputy general consul and said several of his entourage were also killed in the shooting.

The shooting occurred at HuQQabaz, a popular, Turkish-owned restaurant in an upscale and high security area only a five-minute drive from the Turkish consulate on the airport road. Photographs published on local news websites showed a shattered window at the front of the restaurant and what appeared to be blood spatters on a auto outside.

Earlier media reports initially put the number of dead and injured higher, but there were no other details of casualties.

Turkey's foreign ministry said an "employee" at its Arbil consulate was killed in a shooting outside the consulate.

It is unknown who carried out the attack.

Kurdish security forces later said a Turkish diplomat and a civilian were killed and another civilian wounded in the attack.

Irbil is located in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, where the majority of the country's ethic Kurds live. "We are continuing our efforts with the Iraqi authorities and local authorities to ensure that the perpetrators of the attack are found quickly", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted on Wednesday.

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Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin vowed on Twitter, "the necessary response will be given to those who committed this treacherous attack".

Authorities are seeking gunmen in the shooting. "The government has launched a full investigation and contacted senior Turkish diplomats to offer condolences and provide assistance".

Responding to Wednesday's incident, Turkey vowed to retaliate against the "atrocious attack".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the attack "in the strongest possible terms". "There can be no justification for such acts of wanton violence", he said. The Turkish Defense Ministry said on Saturday that its military offensive in the region, which started in May, had been expanded.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Turkish Kurdish militants are known be based near the Northern Iraqi city, prompting a stern response from Turkey.

Last week, Turkey said it had launched an operation involving commandos, air strikes and artillery targeting PKK positions in the Xwakurk (Hakurk) area.

But one sticking point is the PKK, which operates rear bases across Iraq's mountainous north.

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