Middle East

Turkish jets strike Kurd rebels in Iraq: military source

A picture taken on June 12, 2007 shows Kurdish PKK fighters patrolling an area in the Iraqi part of Qandil Mountains near their headquarters on the Iraqi-Iranian-Turkish borders. AFP PHOTO/SAFIN HAMED

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Turkey sent jets across its border with Iraq to strike separatists from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a local military source said Thursday.

The jets bombed 12 targets in the Kandil Mountains in the autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq on Wednesday, the source told AFP without providing any casualty figures.

Pro-Kurdish Firat News Agency confirmed the raid, saying it targeted two villages and destroyed many farms and orchards.

The raid comes amid nascent peace talks between Ankara and PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is serving a life sentence in prison.

Turkey hopes the talks will yield a ceasefire and eventually bring an end to the almost three-decade Kurdish insurgency for self-rule in the southeast.

Last month, the Turkish army said it killed 14 rebels in the southeastern city of Hakkari as they were preparing to ambush a border post. A Turkish soldier was also killed in the ensuing shootout.

Ankara says the rebels use their hideouts in northern Iraq, where the PKK command is also located, to infiltrate Turkey for hit-and-run attacks on security forces.

Around 45,000 people are believed to have been killed in 29 years of fighting between Turkish security forces and the PKK, which took up arms in 1984.





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