Turkish jets bomb PKK targets in northern Iraq

Updated: 2007-12-23 09:41

ANKARA - Turkish jets bombed some important targets belonging to the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in the north of Iraq on Saturday afternoon, a military statement said.

"Turkish aircraft struck important targets of the terrorist group of PKK in northern Iraq ... between 14:25-15:00 local time ( 1125-1200 GMT)," said the statement issued by the Office of the Chief of General Staff on its web site.

A Turkish army helicopter flies over the mountains in Sirnak near the Turkish-Iraqi border, October 2007. Turkish aircraft carried out a fresh attack on positions of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq on Saturday, the Turkish army said on its website. [Xinhua] 

The statement said the jets returned to their bases safely, and that the same targets were also hit by Turkish artillery units deployed close to the border between 16:55-17:10 local time (14:55- 15:10 GMT).

The statement also noted that similar operations would continue.

"How influential the operations are on the organization will be understood better in the coming days. In this context, similar operations will continue on both sides of the border regardless of land and weather conditions," said the statement.

"PKK terrorist organization will learn through experience that north of Iraq is not a safe haven any more and understand that it has no chance of success against the Republic of Turkey," the statement warned.

The statement said it is not possible to give a precise casualty figure of the terrorists at the moment, as the number of terrorists in the caves and shelters that were hit were not clearly known, but promised that the results of the operation carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces will be made public as video images next week.

However, the statement said "through intelligence from various sources, it is obvious that hundreds of terrorists were rendered ineffective."

Meanwhile, an official from the regional administration in the north of Iraq said Nerve and Rekan parts of Amed region in the border with Turkey were hit.

"The aerial bombardment didn't result in any people killed because the area is almost deserted," said Jabbar Yawer, spokesman for Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga security forces.

This is the second air raid aimed at the PKK bases in northern Iraq in no morn than a week. On Tuesday, the Turkish army confirmed that it also carried out a "small-scale" incursion into northern Iraq to go after a group of PKK rebels who were trying to enter Turkey.

The Turkish military has launched several cross-border attacks recently to fight separatist PKK rebels, who use northern Iraq as a launch pad for attacks against Turkey.

Last Sunday, Turkish warplanes carried out air strikes at some villages near the border in the Qandil mountains, killing at least five PKK members and one woman, and wounding six people, according to a Kurdish security source.

Security operations are underway in southeastern and eastern Turkey as 100,000 Turkish troops have massed along Turkish-Iraqi borders in preparations for a possible cross-border operation to crush the about 3,000-strong PKK rebels.

The PKK, listed by the United States and Turkey as a terrorist group, took up arms against Turkey in 1984 with the aim of creating an ethnic homeland in the southeast. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the over-two-decade conflict.

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