Turkish diplomat, two others killed in attack at restaurant in Erbil

Universal condemnation
A restaurant where Turkish diplomats were killed is seen in Erbil, Iraq July 17, 2019. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

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SULAIMANI — Three people, including a Turkish diplomat, were shot dead in an attack at a restaurant in Erbil on Wednesday afternoon (July 17), according to the Erbil Asayish (security) Directorate and a family member.

The shooting occurred at approximately 14:30 local time (11:30 GMT) at the Huqqabaz restaurant in the Empire neighborhood off the Airport Road in an upscale area frequented by expatriates.

The Asayish earlier confirmed that the diplomat and another person had been killed.

A third person was initially listed as wounded, but they later died at the hospital, a member of the victim's family told NRT late on Wednesday night.

“An official of our Consulate General in Erbil has been martyred as a result of a heinous attack, while he was outside of our Consulate compound,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“We have requested the Iraqi and regional authorities to find the perpetrators of the attack swiftly. We wish Allah’s mercy upon our martyr, extend our condolences to his family and the Turkish Nation,” it added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack and said in a tweet that Ankara was in contact with local and Iraqi officials to coordinate the hunt for the perpetrators. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara would send a delegation to assist in the investigation if needed.

“The government has launched a full investigation and contacted senior Turkish diplomats to offer condolences and provide assistance,” the Asayish said in its statement.

“We assure our citizens and foreign diplomats in particular that all necessary precautions will be taken to ensure the safety and security of the Kurdistan Region and its peoples,” the statement concluded.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry also condemned the killing and said that it was working closely with local authorities in Erbil to find the perpetrators.

“The Ministry believes that this crime will not undermine the momentum of the historical and strategic relations between Baghdad and Ankara and will not dissipate the efforts of the two friendly countries to continue steady rapprochement and realize the common interests that Iraq has long been keen to maintain.”

The ministry later tweeted that Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim spoke with Cavusoglu by phone.

NRT Digital Media reporter Hersh Qadir said that a at least one attacker opened fire on a group of consulate staff who were dining at the restaurant, before fleeing the scene.

The security forces have been deployed around venue and set up checkpoints throughout the city in an effort to apprehend the perpetrators.

A number of diplomatic missions in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region condemned the attack on their Turkish colleague and expressed their condolences to the families of the victims.

(NRT Digital Media)

This story was updated at 10:50 p.m. EBL