Turkey targets northern Iraq again

Eight PKK bases are bombed in the latest offensive against Kurdish fighters.

    Turkey has moved about 100,000 soldiers
    along its border with Iraq [AFP]

    Jabbar Yawar, spokesman for Peshmerga security forces of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, said the strike lasted about an hour, but inflicted no casualties.
    Turkey also said it killed six PKK fighters on Wednesday inside Turkey near the Iraqi border, bringing the death toll during a two-day operation to 11.
    Continuing raids
    Turkish aircraft have struck northern Iraq three times during the past 10 days in a campaign that began with a larger bombing raid on December 16.
    Tensions have escalated in recent months after Turkish soldiers were killed by PKK fighters in a series of attacks.
    The Turkish military says it killed between 150 and 175 PKK members in its air attack on December 16.
    Yousef Sharif, Al Jazeera's Turkey bureau chief, says Turkish military sources say these raids could continue into next spring.
    Sharif said Ankara had won backing from Washington to carry out the raid, as long as civilians were not targeted and that ground troops did not move into northern Iraq.
    However, Ankara has also carried out brief cross-border raids by up to several hundred ground troops.
    Hundreds of civilians have fled villages in the border area.
    On Tuesday Turkish warplanes bombed the Iraqi region of al-Amadiyah near the border, an Iraqi Kurdish border official said.
    No one was hurt in the raid.
    Relations harmed
    The Kurds

    - The Kurds
    - The PKK 

    - Dreams of independence
    - Turkey's lonely Kurdish villages
    - Turkey's Kurds try to be heard

    - In search of Kurdistan

    The strikes come despite leaders of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, and the government in Baghdad, calling for an immediate halt to the raids.
    Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi president, a day earlier said: "We are not denying that Turkey has a right to defend itself from extremists, but some of its actions are not serving any democratic purpose in Turkey or in Iraq.
    "This will not benefit the relations between the two countries."
    Since 1984, the PKK's fight against Turkey for Kurdish self-rule has claimed more than 37,000 lives.
    The group is labelled a "terrorist organisation" by Turkey, the US and the EU.
    Turkey, which has the second largest army in the Nato military alliance after the US with 515,000 troops, has moved about 100,000 soldiers along its 380km border with Iraq.
    Istanbul bomb

    Turkish air raids on northern Iraq
    could continue into spring [AP]

    Also on Wednesday, a woman died in hospital from wounds suffered in a small bomb explosion in Istanbul the day before.
    Six other people were also injured in the blast
    A small bomb had exploded in a rubbish bin on the outskirts of the city.

    Police described the device as a "percussion bomb", designed to make a loud noise but cause minimal damage.

    No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but Turklish officials blamed Kurdish separatists.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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