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story.lead_photo.caption The bell tower of Pantanassa church in Athens, Greece, was damaged Friday by a 5.3-magnitude earthquake.

Turkey targets Iraq region after killing

ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey launched airstrikes against Kurdish rebel targets in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region after the killing of a Turkish diplomat there, state-run media quoted Turkey's defense minister as saying Friday.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkish jets on Thursday hit the Qandil mountains region in northern Iraq, where the leadership of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party is reported to be based. A Defense Ministry statement said airstrikes were also conducted Friday against alleged Kurdistan Workers' Party targets in Iraq's Karajak region.

Akar said the offensive was launched after an employee of the Turkish Consulate in the city of Irbil was killed along with an Iraqi national in a gun attack at a Turkish-owned restaurant in the city Wednesday. The diplomat has been identified as Osman Kose.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting although suspicion fell on Kurdish militants.

In Irbil, a statement issued by security forces said the lead suspect in the investigation was a 27-year-old who hails from Turkey's predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir.

The statement did not give further details, but said the suspect was already wanted by security agencies in Iraq's Kurdish region.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency claimed that two of the suspect's siblings were alleged Kurdistan Workers' Party militants and that a third was a legislator from Turkey's pro-Kurdish party.

South Korean dies after self-immolation

SEOUL, South Korea -- A 78-year-old South Korean man died hours after setting himself ablaze near the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Friday, police said, at a time of worsening tensions between Seoul and Tokyo.

The man, surnamed Kim, ignited a fire inside his car parked in front of the building where the embassy is located. The man died later Friday while being treated at a Seoul hospital, police said.

Police said Kim had phoned an acquaintance earlier to say he planned to self-immolate to express his antipathy toward Japan.

Kim's family told investigators that his father-in-law had been conscripted as a forced laborer when the Korean Peninsula was under Japan's colonial rule from 1910-45, according to a police statement.

No suicide note was found. Police earlier said flammable materials were found in the car that Kim borrowed from an acquaintance Thursday.

Police said they'll analyze possible evidence from Kim's mobile phone and investigate people concerned to try to determine the exact motive for his action.

The man's self-immolation comes with relations between Seoul and Tokyo at their worst in decades after Japan recently tightened export controls for some high-tech materials.

Quake hits Greece, damages capital

ATHENS, Greece -- A strong earthquake centered northwest of Athens shook Greece on Friday, causing frightened residents to run into the capital's streets and damaging several buildings. Authorities said no serious injuries were reported.

The Athens Institute of Geodynamics gave the earthquake that struck at 2:13 p.m. in Greece a preliminary magnitude of 5.1. The U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude of 5.3.

Firefighters checked for people trapped in elevators amid power failures after the brief but jolting quake.

In central Athens, the Acropolis Museum was evacuated and closed for the rest of the day as a precaution, but the city's ancient monuments remained open.

Police patrols and helicopters were deployed to inspect areas close to the earthquake's epicenter near the town of Magoula.

Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said an abandoned building collapsed in western Athens and several other abandoned buildings elsewhere in the city had serious damage.

After the quake, fire brigades reported receiving dozens of calls about people trapped in elevators. The shaking was caught on live cameras in the studios of state broadcaster ERT.

The most powerful quake to hit the Greek capital in the past 20 years came in 1999, when a temblor of magnitude 6.0 caused extensive damage and killed more than 140 people.

20 militants killed in Egyptian strikes

EL-ARISH, Egypt -- Egyptian security officials said airstrikes targeting Islamic militants were underway Friday in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 20 insurgents.

Officials said that Egypt's air force on Friday hit more than 100 mountainous hideouts of militant groups in the city of El-Arish and the small town of Bir al-Abd. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

The airstrikes come on the heels of a suicide bombing attack that left two dead, a soldier and a civilian, Thursday in the northern Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid.

A day earlier, militants beheaded four people and kidnapped a fifth in Bir al-Abd, after accusing them of cooperating with security forces. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for both attacks.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

Photo by AP/ALEXEI NIKOLSKY
A view from the air shows devastating flood damage Friday in Tulun, Russia, after torrential rains in late June. About 11,000 houses were destroyed in the Irkutsk region in Siberia.

A Section on 07/20/2019

Print Headline: Turkey targets Iraq region after killing South Korean dies after self-immolation Quake hits Greece, damages capital 20 militants killed in Egyptian strikes

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