( RIA Novosti ) - Units of the Turkish army have crossed the Iraqi border in a special operation against Kurdish militants, local newspapers said Wednesday.
The Yeni Safak newspaper reported that Turkish commandos supported by helicopters were chasing militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and F-16 Falcon fighter-bombers and artillery were delivering pinpoint strikes at militant bases about 50 kilometers ( 30 miles) deep into the Iraqi territory.
Zaman, Turkey's third largest newspaper, said the Turkish Armed Forces had stepped up their bombardment of the Iraqi border as part of an operation launched in retaliation for Sunday's terrorist attack that killed 12 soldiers and wounded 16 others.
The newspaper cited a government spokesman as saying that the U.S. had been informed about the start of the cross-border operation, although Turkey's military has not confirmed the media reports.
The Turkish parliament sanctioned last week military cross-border operations against the PKK, based in north Iraq, following an earlier government request. The PKK says it is currently holding several Turkish soldiers hostage.
Turkey's military said on Monday that eight military personnel were missing following clashes with Kurdish fighters on the Iraqi border, 34 Kurds and at least 12 Turkish servicemen were killed last Sunday in an ambush by Kurdish militants.
Turkey's National Security Council is meeting Wednesday to discuss further action against the PKK insurgents and the reaction of the U.S. and neighboring countries on the Turkish incursion into northern Iraq.
The PKK, listed by the U.S., NATO and the EU as a terrorist organization, has been fighting for autonomy status in southeast Turkey for nearly 25 years. The conflict has so far claimed about 40,000 lives.