( AP ) - The Iraqi Foreign Ministry on Saturday issued a formal protest to Turkey over the cross-border shelling into northern Iraq.
A statement said Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Haj Mahmoud had summoned the Turkish charge d'affaires and called for an immediate halt to the shelling, saying such actions "undermine confidence between the two nations and negatively affect their friendship."
The statement was the first government confirmation of the shelling.
Mahmoud said the shelling had started large fires and caused serious damage, but gave no other details.
Turkey has been building up its forces along the border with Iraq, and its leaders are debating whether to stage a major incursion to pursue separatist Kurdish rebels who cross over from bases in Iraq to attack Turkish targets.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry also reiterated the government's opposition to the presence on its territory of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, also known as PKK, and said it considers the rebel group to be illegal.
" Iraq would like to take this opportunity to declare its resolve to cooperate with Turkish authorities to allay Turkey's legitimate fears through a constructive dialogue and positive cooperation," said the statement.
Turkey has an ambassador in Iraq but he was not in Baghdad so the charge d'affaires, Ahmet Yazal, was summoned.