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August 19, 2019
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Turkey launches airstrikes in Iraq’s Kurdish region after diplomat killing

ANKARA: Turkey has launched airstrikes on the Kurdish region in northern Iraq after a Turkish diplomat among three were killed in a gun attack in the region.

On Wednesday, Turkish vice-consul to Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead on Wednesday in the local capital Erbil. Two employee of the Turkish consulate were also killed in the firing incident.

Although no one claimed responsibility for the attack, it is widely believed Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist group, was behind the attack.

“Following the evil attack in Erbil, we have launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil and dealt a heavy blow to the (PKK) terror organisation,” Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.

Targets such as “armaments positions, lodgings, shelters and caves belonging to terrorists” were destroyed.

“Our fight against terror will continue with increasing determination until the last terrorist is neutralised and the blood of our martyrs will be avenged,” he added.

The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which now leads the regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.

But Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign since May in the mountainous northern region to root out the PKK which has waged an armed rebellion against the Turkish state since 1984.

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 the group was involved in Wednesday’s deadly shooting.