Turkish army continues attacks in northern Iraq

Türkiye Materials 23 February 2008 14:04 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - The Turkish military on Saturday continued its attacks on positions of the banned Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, Turkish media reported.

The Turkish airforce was backing the offensive by thousands of soldiers with F-16 fighter planes, it was said.

Their initial target were PKK positions some 20 kilometres behind the border, where up to 1,000 rebels were thought to be located.

A Turkish officer meanwhile died on the Turkish side of the border with Iraq where he was clearing mines.

At least 24 PKK rebels and five soldiers have so far been killed during the ground offensive, according to Turkish figures.

The attacks have caused international concerns, with UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon criticizing the military operation.

Ban said he was aware of Turkey's concerns, but he confirmed his call for the largest possible restraint and respect for the international border between Iraq and Turkey.

At the same time he called on the PKK to stop their terrorist attacks on Turkish territory.