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Turkish jets bomb 60 Kurdish rebel targets in Iraq: army

Turkey launches first attacks in northern Iraq since late 2010, saying military operations will continue until all PKK bases are 'eradicated'

AFP , Thursday 18 Aug 2011
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Funeral ceremony in Istanbul on Tuesday of Turkish solider killed during attack by Kurdish guerrillas in eastern Turkey(Reuters)

Turkish jets bombed 60 targets in northern Iraq used as bases by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) following an ambush by the rebel group that killed nine troops, the military said Thursday.

A PKK spokesman, reporting no casualties, said the air strikes in northern Iraq, the first since late 2010, carried on through Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Turkey's air force launched a "successful" operation against 60 targets in the Qandil and Hakurk regions late Wednesday, said the General Staff in a statement posted on its website.

The aircraft involved all returned safely to bases in Turkey, it added.

Some 168 targets in the Qandil region were under intense artillery fire before the military operation began, the military said.

Dozdar Hammo, the PKK spokesman, said the jets also bombed rebel bases in the Qandil and Khanairah areas of north Iraq near the Turkish border for about an hour from around 8:00 am (0500 GMT) on Thursday.

Hammo said no casualties were reported from the latest strikes or the raids on Wednesday night, which he said lasted for about two hours starting at 9:00 pm (1800 GMT).

The Turkish military said its operations at home and in the north of Iraq, used as a safe haven by the PKK, "will continue until it is eradicated."

The strikes came hours after the deadly attack on Wednesday in the town of Cukurca in the southeast of the country claimed by the PKK, which is branded a terrorist group by Turkey as well as the European Union and United States.

On June 16, the PKK killed 13 soldiers in Diyarbakir, another southeastern province.

Turkey's conflict with the PKK has claimed more than 45,000 lives since it broke out in 1984.

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