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. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the “heinous attack”. 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.
“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.
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. 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. Initial reports said that three Turkish diplomats were killed. 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.