Turkish army shells northern Iraq

( dpa ) - The Turkish army shelled border villages in northern Iraq Friday morning but no casualties were reported, an official from Iraq's Kurdish Autonomous Region said.

"Turkish artillery shelled Friday morning the villages of Siri, Zli, Rishafa, Shifi and Kro, 120 kilometres north of Duhuk. There were no immediate reports of any casualties," a Iraqi Kurdish border guards officer in Duhuk province said.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the shelling lasted more than three hours and hit unpopulated villages situated at nearly four kilometres from the Turkish-Iraqi border.

Turkish jets regularly hit targets of rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in mountainous areas in northern Iraq in December. Air strikes were coupled with brief cross-border raids by Turkish troops.

PKK rebels operating from northern Iraq are fighting for a separate homeland in south-east Turkey. Ankara accuses PKK of launching attacks on civilians, the most recent of which is a bomb blast in the Diyarbakir on January 3, causing six fatalities.

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