Turkey 'kills 30-plus terrorists'

(CNN) - Turkish troops on the Turkish-Iraqi border "killed more than 30 terrorists" preparing an attack, the military said on its Web site Thursday.

Turkish soldiers patrol a road near the village of Uludere, close to the Iraqi border.

1 of 3 The incident, which happened late Tuesday, occurred near a military post in Turkey's Hakkari province. Turkey has been fighting rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, who have been operating on both sides of the mountainous, rugged region bordering Turkey and Iraq.

"This terrorist group was fired upon heavily by tanks, cannons and other artillery," the Turkish military said in a statement.

It continued that the firepower forced the fighters to flee to Iraq, "and they were followed with bombardment by Turkish forces." Information from local sources and intelligence determined that more than 30 "terrorists" were killed, it added.

The Associated Press reported military sources as saying that 64 rebels have now been killed since Sunday.

Earlier Thursday Turkey's president Abdullah Gul said his country has finally lost patience with Kurdish rebels in Iraq. His comments came as a delegation from Baghdad flew in to urge Ankara against a cross-border offensive on the guerrillas.

The president decried the PKK's use of Iraqi soil as a base to attack Turkey. The rebels killed 12 Turkish soldiers in an ambush on Sunday.

"Even though Turkey respects the sovereignty and unity of Iraq, her patience has come to an end and will not allow Iraqi soil to be used for terrorist activities," Gul said in the opening speech of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization.

A high-level "security and political" delegation from Iraq began a visit to Ankara on Thursday with talks expected to start on Friday.

The group includes Defense Minister Abdul Qadir Mohammed Jassim al-Ubaidi, a source in Iraq's Foreign Ministry and the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

The delegation also includes one representative each from Iraq's two largest Kurdish movements, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

"They will discuss with Turkish authorities issues regarding the PKK in Iraq, and measures that need to be taken by the Iraqi and Turkish sides," said Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Hajj Hamoud.

"We hope the delegation will get answers from the Turkish side to settle this. I am very optimistic about the results."

The Iraqi central government and Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government are concerned that cross-border action would violate Iraq's territorial integrity and plunge a region that has escaped the worst of the four-year-old Iraq war into conflict.

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