Turkey: Army strikes militants in northern Iraq

Ankara, 16 April (AKI) - Turkish warplanes attacked Kurdish rebel fighters in northern Iraq on Wednesday.

Media reports said the fighters were attempting to cross the border into Turkey to carry out attacks inside the country.

Wednesday's attacks followed previous assaults by Turkish defence forces that took place on Tuesday in the Avasin-Basyan area of northern Iraq.

A statement by the Turkish military said rebels had been "neutralised" but they did not say how many fighters were killed on this week's attacks.

Turkey mounted a week-long incursion against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in February and sent thousands of troops across the border into northern Iraq. The government estimates 240 rebels were killed in the campaign.

The military this week also reported clashes in Turkey's Diyarbakir and Sirnak provinces.

Warplanes have been targetting positions linked to the PKK in northern Iraq since mid-December.

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said his government would invest up to 12 billion dollars in south-east Turkey in a bid to reduce support for the PKK.

The PKK is committed to creating an independent Kurdish state in Kurdistan, an area comprising southeastern Turkey, northeastern Iraq, northeastern Syria and northwestern Iran.


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