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Turkish Warplanes Hit Kurdish Rebel Targets in Iraq

By VOA News

Turkish warplanes have attacked Kurdish rebel targets deep inside northern Iraq.

Iraqi Kurdish officials say Turkish airstrikes hit several villages early Sunday morning, killing a woman and forcing villagers to flee. The raids took place in the Qandil mountains, about 100 kilometers south of the Turkish-Iraqi border.

Turkey's military says its warplanes only targeted bases of the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK, not the civilian population. It says Turkish troops fired artillery across the border into northern Iraq after the aircraft returned.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the airstrikes were a success and vowed to continue the fight against the PKK inside and outside Turkey.

Turkey's military has launched several operations against PKK rebels inside Iraq in recent months, using long-range artillery and helicopters.

The Ankara government accuses the rebels of using bases in northern Iraq to carry out deadly attacks in southeastern Turkey.

In October, Turkey's parliament granted the government authority for cross-border military operations against the PKK.

The United States and Iraq have urged Turkey not to begin a major cross-border ground invasion, fearing that it could destabilize the relatively peaceful region of northern Iraq.

The PKK has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984. More than 30-thousand people have died in the conflict

... Payvand News - 12/16/07 ... --

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