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Turkey warplanes attack Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq

Turkish warplanes attacked Kurdish guerrilla targets in northern Iraq on Wednesday, in apparent retaliation for a rebel attack in southeast Turkey which killed a dozen soldiers earlier in the day.











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) militants operate a number of bases, the sources said.

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

Dozdar Hamo, a PKK spokesman said: “The border area has been bombed since 9pm (1800 GMT) 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 rebel 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.

“These places have no population because most people left a month ago after they were bombarded by Iranian artillery. Even shepherds have stopped going to these places,” he said.

Turkey and Iran have often skirmished with Kurdish rebels in that region. Last month Iranian shelling of the area forced hundreds to flee their homes during clashes with the PJAK, an Iranian offshoot of the PKK.

The latest operation came hours after reports of an attack by Kurdish rebels on a military convoy in southeastern Turkey.

Eleven solders and a member of the state-backed village guard militia were killed in the ambush in Hakkari province’s Cukurca district near the Iraqi border, Turkish media reported.

The PKK did not immediately claim responsibility.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan condemned the killings, saying those who carried out such attacks would “pay the price”.

Filed in: World News

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