ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Fars Mohammed, General-Director of Administration for the Kurdistan Region’s electoral commission, was fatally shot on Tuesday in an act that appeared to be a targeted assassination.
Security officials have announced that it was likely the result of a family dispute, and not politically motivated.
Mohammed, a long time member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party, was killed while driving in his car at approximately 2:00 p.m. on 100-Meter Road, near Erbil's popular Family Mall. According to eye-witnesses, four males in another vehicle approached his vehicle and opened fire, hitting him multiple times and killing him immediately. Photographs taken at the scene show several bullet holes in the car's exterior.
The assassination has raised suspicion among many in Kurdish social media since it comes weeks ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country.
“The investigation of the case has already started,” Tariq Nouri, Director of Erbil Asayish (Security) said. “The preliminary results show that he was killed because of a family issue. This murder case has no political angle.”
Nouri added that recently, a nephew of Mohammed was killed in Erbil and the murderer later found dead in Istanbul, but gave no further details.
“Mohammed’s murder might be related to that [social] dispute,” Nouri said. “We will inform the people of Erbil if we receive any new information.”
The Kurdistan Region and Iraq are heading to national legislative elections, which are scheduled to be held next month on May 12. There are 6986 candidates who have been certified to run in the elections, competing for 329 seats in Baghdad's parliament.
The PUK is one of the leading parties in the current Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet. It is the third-largest party in the Kurdistan Region following the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Gorran (Change) with 18 seats in Kurdistan Parliament.
On Sunday, the Islamic State (IS) issued a public warning, threatening that it would target voters across Iraq on election day and, in a separate statement, claimed responsibility for a car bombing that wounded a Turkmen candidate last week in the province of Kirkuk.
Editing by John J. Catherine