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Turkish Planes Again Bomb Kurdish Rebels in Iraq

Source: VOA

Turkish warplanes have attacked separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party positions in northern Iraq for the second straight night.

The latest strikes, carried out late Thursday, again targeted areas in Iraq's Kandil region near the Iranian border. PKK forces use the mountains of northern Iraq as a sanctuary to launch attacks in southeastern Turkey.

Ankara launched the air raids after PKK rebels ambushed a military convoy in Turkey, killing at least eight Turkish soldiers near the border with Iraq.

Also Thursday, Turkey's National Security Council met to discuss the situation, saying it would adopt a "more effective and decisive stance" in the fight against terrorism. It did not elaborate on what those measures would be.

Turkey, the United States, and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist group.


Kurdish Provinces, Iraq


A rebel spokesperson told VOA that Turkey's offensive the previous night failed to inflict any casualties on PKK forces. He said the strikes destroyed only one home and damaged a power distribution unit.

The PKK's response follows confirmation from the Turkish military that it launched artillery strikes and sent its warplanes across the border with Iraq late Wednesday as part of an attack on 60 PKK targets. The military said it would continue such operations until the PKK is "rendered ineffective" but that it was showing "necessary sensitivity" to avoid harming civilians.

The raids on the Kandil and Zap regions, among others, mark Turkey's first cross-border offensive in a year. Iraqi government officials Thursday objected to the raid as a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

The renewed violence comes days after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara's "patience is running out" with the rebels, who have waged a campaign for autonomy in the country's largely Kurdish southeast since 1984. The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people.

Since calling off a cease-fire in February, the PKK has adopted what it calls an "active defense" stance, which allows its fighters to defend themselves if they feel threatened.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara expressed condolences for the soldiers killed Wednesday and said the United States stands with Turkey in its fight against the PKK.

... Payvand News - 08/19/11 ... --

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