Turkish jets strike Kurdish rebels in Iraq

2012-10-08 13:02
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Diyarbakir - Turkish jets bombed Kurdish rebel hideouts in northern Iraq overnight, military sources said, but it was not immediately clear if there were any casualties.

At least 12 F-16 fighter jets took off from the Diyarbakir base in the southeast and targeted four camps in the Kandil Mountains and the surrounding area where the leadership of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) is believed to be hiding, the sources added.

The latest operation comes after the Turkish government asked parliament last week to renew the mandate for its armed forces to attack Kurdish rebel bases in Iraq for another year, as the clashes sharply escalated between the two sides.

The last air strike was in early September when Turkish jets bombed suspected PKK ammunition depots and shelters.

Last Tuesday, Iraq moved to end Turkey's military presence in the north of the country, saying it rejected any foreign bases on its soil or action by foreign forces, signalling a further deterioration in ties between the two neighbours.

Disputes


Baghdad's move appeared to be linked to the Turkish government's request for parliamentary approval for a new mandate for operations in northern Iraq. The current mandate expires on 17 October.

Since the 1990s Turkey has maintained several military bases in the autonomous Kurdistan region of north Iraq, where the PKK also has bases.

Ties between Iraq and Turkey have been marred by several disputes this year, including Ankara's refusal to extradite Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who has been sentenced to death in absentia by a Baghdad court.

About 45 000 people have been killed since the PKK, which is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Ankara and much of the international community, took up arms for autonomy in Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey in 1984.

Read more on:    turkey  |  iraq
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