Turkish jets bomb Iraqi Kurdistan after diplomat killing | News | DW | 19.07.2019
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Turkish jets bomb Iraqi Kurdistan after diplomat killing

Turkish warplanes have struck a mountainous region near the Iraq-Iran border, where a Kurdish separatist group is known to operate. Ankara blames them for Wednesday's killing of a Turkish diplomat in Erbil.

Turkey carried out an airstrike on Iraqi Kurdistan on Thursday in retaliation for the killing of a Turkish diplomat in the region, the Defense Ministry said Friday.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the airforce had "launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil," a difficult-to-reach area of Northern Iraq where the Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has its headquarters, according to the AFP news agency.

The ministry tweeted that six "terrorists were neutralized" in the aerial bombardment.

Akar said the bombing had "dealt a heavy blow" to the PKK, which Ankara lists as a terrorist organization. The ministry tweeted that six "terrorists were neutralized" in the aerial bombardment.

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The airstrike was also confirmed by Kurdish officials. The Kurdistan government-owned TV channel Kurdistan 24 cited local politician Jamal Aradne as saying that a PKK vehicle had been struck and that three civilians had been injured.

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Diplomat killed in Erbil

The bombing happened a day after the deadly shooting of a Turkish diplomat in the regional capital of Erbil.

The PKK has denied responsibility for the consular official's killing along with two others at a restaurant on Wednesday.

But Ankara insists the separatist group, which has fought a decadeslong insurgency against Turkey demanding Kurdish autonomy in the south of the country, was behind the shooting.

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Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign to root out the PKK from the Qandil mountains since May.

The raids saw senior PKK leader Diyar Gharib Mohammed killed along with two other fighters.

One of the main Kurdish parties in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), now leads the regional government from Erbil and enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.

The government condemned the shooting as a "premeditated terrorist attack."  

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