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Turkish strikes on PKK in Iraq kill at least 6

AFP , Saturday 1 Aug 2015
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Turkish strikes against the PKK in northern Iraq killed at least six people on Saturday, officials said, as Ankara's bombardment of the Kurdish rebel group entered its second week.

At around 4:00 am (0100 GMT) Turkish warplanes struck the village of Zarkel, in the Rawanduz area east of Arbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

One local official, Nehro Abdullah, said two women were among six people killed in the raid, which he said completely destroyed several buildings.

He did not say whether the other victims were members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an organisation outlawed in Turkey which has for years been sheltering in mountain regions on the Iraqi side of the border.

"We have received six bodies and eight wounded following the Turkish raids," said Maqsud Ismail Omar, a doctor and the head of the health directorate in the nearby town of Soran.

Ankara has launched a two-pronged "anti-terror" offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria and PKK militants after a wave of attacks inside the country.

So far the bombardments have focused far more on the Kurdish rebels, who are at the forefront of the battle against IS in Syria and Iraq.

Turkey's official Anatolia news agency reported on Saturday that around 260 PKK members had been killed and up to 400 wounded in the campaign so far, including casualties inside Turkey as well as in Iraq. It gave no source.

The PKK in Iraq had reported only five deaths before Saturday's raids but admitted that it had little or no contact with some of the areas targeted by Turkish air strikes and was therefore not yet able to fully assess the damage.

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