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Turkish jets raid northern Iraq

Kader Kadem | 05:32 | 0 Comments
Terrorists attacked a military outpost near the Iraqi border early on Saturday, sparking clashes in which at least eight soldiers and 12 terrorists were killed, Turkey's military said. Fourteen other soldiers were wounded in the fighting.
The military immediately sent special forces as reinforcements to the area while helicopter gunships and artillery fire targeted terror positions, the military said in a statement.
Separately, Turkish warplanes attacked terrorist hideouts across the border in northern Iraq, it said.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists have dramatically stepped up attacks in Turkey in recent months, threatening a government attempt to end one of the world's longest conflict. Six soldiers were killed and seven others wounded last month in a rocket attack on a vehicle near a naval base in southern Turkey.

Turkey's military has responded by sending warplanes across the border for raids on suspected terror bases while elite commandos crossed the border in pursuit of the terrorists in a daylong incursion earlier this week.

The PKK terrorists have used northern Iraq as a springboard to stage hit-and-run attacks on security forces in their decades-long campaign in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast. The Turkish military says around 4,000 terrorists are based just across the border in Iraq and that about 2,500 operate inside Turkey.

The military said Saturday's attack occurred at 2 a.m. (2300 GMT Friday) on an outpost near the town of Şemdinli -- a mountainous region where the borders of Turkey, Iraq and Iran meet. Private NTV television, without citing sources, said a large group of PKK terrorists infiltrated the area from hideouts across the Iraqi border.

Clashes in the region were continuing sporadically, NTV said.

The United States, which along with the European Union, has declared the PKK to be a terrorist group, has provided intelligence to Turkey in support of its fight against the terrorists. Turkey also uses drones it recently purchased from Israel.

Armağan Kuloğlu, a retired general and military analyst, said, however, there appeared to be a deficiency in the intelligence and that the advance of the terrorists should have been detected.

On Friday, the military said it had killed as many as 130 terrorists in an air raid on terror positions in northern Iraq last month and in this week's incursion by elite commandos who crossed the border to hunt down a group of PKK terrorists who escaped after a failed attack near the border town of Uludere.

Turkey has launched several air and ground incursions into northern Iraq with mixed results. The terrorists have returned to positions along the border soon after the troops have withdrawn.

The Marxist group has been labeled a terrorist organization by the West for killing civilians in urban bombings and arson attacks and slaying government teachers, engineers and clergymen.

The government has extended greater cultural rights to the Kurds such as broadcasts in the Kurdish language on television, in an effort to win their hearts and reduce support for the terrorists.

The conflict has killed as many as 40,000 people since 1984.
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