Three people, incl Turkish Deputy Consul-General, killed in Erbil shooting

Security forces gather at the scene of a shooting outside a restaurant in Irbil Iraq Wednesday

Security forces gather at the scene of a shooting outside a restaurant in Irbil Iraq Wednesday

A gunman opened fire at a restaurant in Erbil where Turkish diplomats were dining before fleeing in a vehicle driven by an accomplice, two Kurdish security officials and a witness said.

"I condemn the heinous attack targeting our consulate employees in Erbil".

Ibrahim Kalin, Erdogan's spokesman, vowed Turkey would deliver "the necessary response.to those who committed this treacherous attack".

Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop also expressed grief over the deadly restaurant attack.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that an "officer of the Consulate General of Irbil was martyred as a result of an atrocious armed attack while he was outside the Consulate General's building".

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Turkish Kurdish militants are known be based near the Northern Iraqi city, prompting a stern response from Turkey. "The government has launched a full investigation and contacted senior Turkish diplomats to offer condolences and provide assistance".

Turkey has put pressure on Iraq's government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to help it contain the group.

But one sticking point is the PKK, which operates rear bases across Iraq's mountainous north.

Turkey considers these groups - including the PKK which fought alongside United States forces against ISIS - to be terrorists.

Turkey has been engaged in military operations in the Kurdish areas of Syria and Iraq, including the Sinjar area and Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq.

According to Turkish state media, the attacker was dressed in plain clothes and carried two guns when he stormed the restaurant in Ainkawa, a bustling northern district of Arbil.

"We are continuing our contacts so that details concerning the issue of the apprehension of the assailants, and what is behind the attack, are brought to light", Cavusoglu said.

While the autonomous Kurdish zone in northern Iraq is relatively secure, Turkish diplomats have been targeted in the broader region in the past.

And in June, protesters gathered outside the Bahraini embassy in Baghdad.

Authorities in Iraq, which is witnessing a period of relative calm since declaring victory against the militant Islamic State (IS) group in 2017, have pledged to protect embassies.