At least two people, including a Turkish diplomat, were shot dead after unknown gunmen opened fire inside a Turkish-owned restaurant in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil late on Wednesday.
No group has claimed the responsibility for the attack so far, but Turkey has already started waging a fierce offensive against Kurdistan Worker’s Party (KPP) which is based in northern Iraq.
On Wednesday afternoon, gunmen fired on Turkish consulate workers in a restaurant in Ainkawa, a northern Erbil neighbourhood that hosts numerous restaurants and the Turkish consulate.
According to Kurdish internal security forces, also known as Asayish, “a shooting in front of a restaurant in Erbil left a Turkish consulate employee and a civilian dead, and wounded a third person”.
The diplomat was identified by local police as the Turkish vice-consul.
The attackers fled the scene, according to sources.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar took to twitter and condemned the unfortunate incident saying, “India condemns the terrorist attack in Erbil (Iraq) yesterday. We extend our condolences to the families of the deceased including a diplomat from Turkey. India has always opposed and rejected terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also condemned the hateful attack targeting the Turkish consulate employees and said, “Turkey was pressing Iraqi and local authorities for the assailants to be apprehended”.
Turkish spokesman Ibrahim Kalin vowed that “the necessary response will be given to those who committed this treacherous attack.”
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which now leads the regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.
Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign since May in the mountainous northern region to root out PKK pockets.
Earlier this month, the PKK announced that one of those raids killed senior PKK leader Diyar Gharib Mohammed along with two other fighters.
A spokesman for the PKK’s armed branch denied that the group was involved in Wednesday’s shooting.
The US embassy also slammed the attack as “heinous” and offered its condolences to the Turkish mission, calling for “the defence and safety of foreign diplomats and diplomatic missions in Iraq.”
Authorities in Iraq, which has been witnessing a period of relative calm since declaring victory against the Islamic State group in 2017, have pledged to protect embassies.