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Kurdish officials say they foiled attack on diplomats in northern Iraq

Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq said on Monday they had foiled a plan to attack foreign diplomats in their autonomous regional capital of Erbil, more than a year after the killing of a Turkish consular official there.

BAGHDAD, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq said on Monday they had foiled a plan to attack foreign diplomats in their autonomous regional capital of Erbil, more than a year after the killing of a Turkish consular official there.

In a statement, the Kurdistan regional government's top security agency said the attack was planned by people linked to the PKK Kurdish separatist group that has waged a decades-long insurgency in neighbouring Turkey.

It said the attackers aimed to kill diplomats, but it did not say from which country.

"The group was observed and then intercepted by the security forces in an operation lasting four months," it added.

The PKK faces one of Turkey's fiercest military assaults for years against its bases in Iraqi territory.

It is also the target of a security and reconstruction agreement between Erbil and Baghdad that aims to eject all PKK affiliates from the town of Sinjar on the Syrian border.

A gunman shot a Turkish diplomat dead in an Erbil restaurant in July last year, just weeks after Turkey launched another incursion into Iraq against the PKK.

Kurdish officials privately blamed that killing on the PKK, which they say seeks to carry out similar attacks in the Kurdistan region.

The Kurdish government in Erbil, dominated by the Kurdish Democratic Party, sees the PKK as its adversary and relies on Turkish pipelines to export oil.

(Reporting by John Davison; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

((John.Davison@thomsonreuters.com;))

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