Turkish warplanes hit Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq

Türkiye Materials 16 April 2008 15:48 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Turkish warplanes attacked Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq on Tuesday, according to a statement issued by the Turkish military on Wednesday.

In a short statement posted on its official website, the Turkish General Staff said warplanes hit a group of Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) guerrillas in mountainous northern Iraq who were attempting to cross into Turkey to launch attacks.

The statement said that on the same day clashes between Turkish troops and PKK rebels in the south-eastern Turkish provinces of Diyarbakir and Sirnak had left one PKK rebel dead and resulted in the seizure of a large number of weapons and explosives.

The fighting on Tuesday comes one-and-a-half months after Turkey ended a week-long incursion into northern Iraq which saw up to 10,000 soldiers sent across the border to seek out Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) rebels and their camps.

According to the Turkish military, 240 PKK fighters, 24 Turkish soldiers and three Turkish state-employed village guards were killed in the week-long operation.

Ankara blames the separatist group for the deaths of more than 32,000 people since the early 1980s when the PKK began its fight for independence or autonomy for the mainly Kurdish-populated south-east of Turkey.

The PKK is listed by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist group.