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Iraqi Kurds accuse PKK of Turkish diplomat’s assassination

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, a group of Kurdish militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) enter northern Iraq in Heror area, northeast of Dahuk, in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. (Photo by AP)

Authorities in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region have accused members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group of ordering the assassination of a Turkish diplomat in the regional capital Erbil more than a week ago.

Officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said in a statement issued late on Friday that based on a detailed confession by the suspected Kurdish gunman, Mazloum Dag, 27 (shown in the picture below), the murder was carried out on the orders of top PKK commanders.

Iraqi Kurdish security services said PKK commanders had been planning the murder in their heavily fortified and far-flung hideouts in Iraq's Qandil mountains for three months.

They said they had arrested three Turkish and three Iraqi suspects.

Turkish consulate employee Osman Kose was killed on July 17, when attackers made their move while the Turkish diplomats asked for check at HuQQabaz, a popular restaurant in an upscale and high-security area only a five-minute drive from the Turkish mission on the airport road in Erbil.

One of the attackers directly targeted the Turkish diplomat at close range, firing a gun with a silencer. Meanwhile, the other attacker began to shoot towards two Iraqi customers. One of them died immediately while the other died in the hospital.

Dag's arrest last Saturday immediately caught the headlines in Turkish media as his sister Dersim is a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which the Turkish government accuses of affiliation to the PKK.

The HDP, Turkey’s second largest opposition group, “strongly” condemned the Erbil shooting attack, calling it an “absolutely unacceptable provocation attempt.”

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement on July 19 that Turkish fighter jets had launched airstrikes on militant positions in Iraqi Kurdistan, dealing a heavy blow to the PKK terror group.

A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.

More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.

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