The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on Monday publicly confirmed the capture of two Turkish secret service officers in Iraq last week.

Diyar Xerib, a leading member of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) – a PKK-affiliated transnational body – told a local news channel in Iraq that they had captured the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) officers, but were not divulging their identities yet.

“Turkey should be glad we haven’t shown the people we captured in the media yet,” he told the Rojnews channel.

“We could just parade them to the press now and publish their names.”

The incident caused a furore last week – according to reports by the NRT news channel, the two MIT officers had been staying in the city of Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan and had been planning to assassinate a senior PKK leader.

Turkey and the PKK have been engaged in a decades long guerilla war which has seen more than 40,000 killed. Throughout, the PKK have maintained headquarters in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq, which has regularly been the target of Turkish military operations.

However, the MIT operation in Sulemaniyah appears to have been botched, with reports on Friday alleging the officials had instead been captured.