Rockets hit Turkish base in northern Iraq

An Iranian-backed militia promptly claimed responsibility for the attack, as Turkish officials said no injuries or damage were reported.

Nineveh Iraq province map
(Al Jazeera)

A cluster of rockets has targeted a Turkish military base in northern Iraq, officials from Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region and a Turkish defence ministry official, said.

An Iranian-backed militia, the Islamic Resistance Ahrar al-Iraq Brigade – which is part of Iraq’s Iran-backed paramilitary Popular Mobilisation Forces – promptly claimed responsibility for the attack on Wednesday, which caused no damage or injuries at the base, according to the Turkish official.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, did not provide further details.

According to a statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) anti-terrorism department, at least eight rockets were fired at Turkey’s Zilkan military base in Nineveh province, which sits just outside of territory administered by the KRG, with two rockets hitting the base itself.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar dismissed the incident, saying that the base comes under attack “from time to time”, prompting retaliatory fire. He said that Turkish soldiers in northern Iraq were “fighting there with increased resolve and determination”.

Turkey launched its most recent operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq in April last year. The PKK launched an armed rebellion in southeast Turkey in 1984, in which more than 40,000 people have been killed.

The PKK maintains training bases and sanctuaries in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region. Turkish troops have frequently launched air attacks targeting the PKK.

The group has been designated a “terrorist” group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Ankara has set up several bases in northern Iraq – much to the displeasure of officials in Baghdad, and some in the KRG, although the latter have not officially condemned the Turkish troop presence. Turkish facilities have occasionally been targeted in rocket attacks.

The Iraqi government has frequently condemned Turkey’s military presence, often describing it as illegal.

Source: News Agencies