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Turkish jets pound Kurdish targets
Warplanes bomb areas of northern Iraq in apparent retaliation for PKK ambush that left eight Turkish troops dead.
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2011 06:35
Turkish warplanes frequently attack PKK strongholds in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq [EPA]

Turkish fighter jets have attacked Kurdish targets in northern Iraq, in retaliation for an ambush by separatist fighters in southeast Turkey which killed eight soldiers.
 
The planes took off from a base in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir and struck targets in the mountainous Kandil and Zap areas of Iraq where the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) operate a number of bases, according to Turkish military sources.

They said the targets included anti-aircraft defences and PKK shelters in the region, where several thousand PKK fighters are based and from where they launch attacks on Turkey.

Dozdar Hamo, a PKK spokesman told Reuters, "The border area has been bombed by Turkish planes, and the bombing is very intense. Nearby there are three Kurdish villages. We have no casualties on our side. We don't
know if there are any casualties among villagers."

The Turkish military has carried out similar air attacks on the PKK hideouts there in recent years.

"Different areas along the border have been bombed by Turkish aircraft on the pretext that there are camps from the PKK," said Ahmed Qadir, a local government representative in the hamlet of Sedaka, near the Turkish-Iranian border in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

The latest operation came hours after the deadly attack by Kurdish fighters on a military convoy in southeastern Turkey left .

The attack took place in the Cukurca region of the predominantly Kurdish Hakkari province, close to the border with Iraq, Turkish security sources said. A PKK spokesman said it was responsible for the ambush.

Turkish news channel NTV said fighters attacked a military unit with bombs and automatic rifle fire. The unit was on its way to conduct an operation against a group who had earlier detonated a roadside bomb in an attack on another military unit.

The Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan condemned the killings, saying those who carried out such attacks would "pay the price".

"Our patience has finally run out. Those who do not distance themselves from terrorism will pay the price," said Erdogan.

Recent Turkish media reports suggest Erdogan plans to launch a new offensive against the PKK in southeastern Turkey after the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

In July, Kurdish fighters killed 13 troops, the highest death toll for Turkish troops in an attack since the PKK ended a ceasefire in February. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict since the PKK took up arms for Kurdish self-rule in 1984.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union, is fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey.

Source:
Agencies
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