Turkish army says 100 rebels killed in air raids on Iraq

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ANKARA: Turkish air attacks on northern Iraq have killed between 90 and 100 Kurdish rebels and injured another 80, the army said on its website on Tuesday.


The toll was the first issued by the army since it resumed a bombing campaign against bases of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Iraqi mountains last Wednesday after a lull of more than a year.

The renewed campaign was in response to a PKK attack that killed nine security personnel in southeast Turkey.

The army statement, which used the word "neutralized" to refer to dead rebels, stressed that the toll was provisional.

The "provisional" toll was calculated after reconnaissance flights over the targeted area.

The army warned that further air raids would be carried out if necessary.

On Monday the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) said that three Kurdish separatists had been killed in Turkey’s bombing campaign on their bases in northern Iraq.

A rebel spokesman threatened "war" in case of more strikes.

Monday’s bombing came a day after an Iraqi family of seven were killed in a Turkish strike on a vehicle in Kortek, according to Jabbar Yawar, a top Iraqi Kurdish official.

The Turkish army specified that 14 installations, eight depots of foodstuffs, one of munitions, nine anti-aircraft guns, 18 caves and 79 ammunition caches were hit during its operations, stressing that meticulous planning was used to avoid areas of civilian population.

Early Tuesday, in a separate incident, a group of rebels attacked a police post in Ergani, in southeast Turkey, killing one soldier and injuring three others, a local security source said.

The army estimates that around 2,000 Kurdish rebels are holed up in the zone in northern Iraq which is administered by Iraqi Kurds.

The Turkish military launched a first wave of bomb attacks on August 17 against PKK targets in Iraq after rebels killed nine members of a military unit in Cukurca, southeast Turkey.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community, took up arms in Kurdish-majority southeast Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives.

As well as its air strikes, the Turkish army has carried out several land incursions into northern Iraq in recent years in order to strike at the rebels there.


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