KIRKUK, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Kurdish Deputy Director of Iraqi North Gas Company (NGC) in Kirkuk Province Mohammed Younis and his assistant Shaho Abdul-salam were killed, Kurdistan24 Correspondent Hemin Dalo reported on Tuesday.
Dalo mentioned that an unknown armed group killed Younis and his assistant early Tuesday morning in the Wahid Hozairan Neighborhood located in southern Kirkuk. The bodies were transferred to the Azadi Hospital.
He added the assassination took place while they were on their way to work.
Younis was also the head of NGC sports club.
So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the assassination, and Kirkuk security has launched an investigation into the case.
According to eyewitnesses, three gunmen in a black BMW opened fire on Younis' vehicle.
Kirkuk is one of the most diverse provinces in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, comprised of different ethnic and religious groups such as Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Christians. Kurds make up the majority of the population.
The province is one of the disputed territories between the Federal Government of Iraq and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). It is rich in natural resources, especially oil and gas.
When the Islamic State (IS) emerged in northern Iraq, the Iraqi army failed to defend Kirkuk. Since June 2014, Kurdish Peshmerga forces have been protecting the province against numerous attacks by IS.
The KRG has long claimed the territory. Kirkuk has gone through several stages of Arabization in the past decades, through forced displacement of Arab families, aiming to deprive the autonomous Region a claim on the province.
Editing by G.H. Renaud