Iraqi Kurdish authorities identify suspect behind Erbil shooting
Turkish diplomat Kose was killed on Wednesday when gunmen opened fire on an upscale restaurant where he was dining in Erbil [File: Azad Lashkari/Reuters]
Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has said it identified one of the assailants responsible for the killing of a Turkish diplomat in Erbil.
Osman Kose was killed on Wednesday when gunmen opened fire in an upscale restaurant where he was dining in Erbil, the local capital of the semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq. Police sources said two other people were also killed.
Police shared a photo of the alleged attacker, Mazlum Dag, who was born in Diyarbakir, Turkey in 1992, and asked local residents to help turn him in.
A wanted notice released by the unit showed two photos of a black-haired young man with a close-cut beard, with one image apparently taken from CCTV footage.
“We call on all citizens to provide security services with information about this suspect as soon as possible,” the counterterrorism unit said. It called the attack a “terrorist” act.
PKK suspected in killing of Turkish diplomat
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According to Anadolu News Agency, Dersim Dag, one of Mazlum’s brothers, is a deputy of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a party Turkey’s government has accused of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it considers a “terrorist” organisation.
The HDP “strongly” condemned the attack, calling it an “absolutely unacceptable provocation attempt”. It also slammed the accusation that one of its deputies was “designated as a target because of his brother”, without mentioning any names.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara that apart from the diplomat, the assailants also fired towards two Iraqi nationals sitting at a nearby table, killing one and seriously wounding the other.
On Thursday, Ankara launched an air attack on the Kurdish region in response to the killing of its diplomat.
“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.
Cavusoglu said Turkey was in contact with Baghdad and Erbil regarding the incident and efforts were continuing to capture the attackers and discover the motive behind the attack.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Hours after the shootings, a spokesman for the military wing of the PKK said the group was not responsible.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies