Turkish war planes bomb Kurdish rebel hideouts in Iraq

October 18th, 2008 - 12:38 am ICT by IANS  

Ankara, Oct 17 (DPA) Turkish warplanes Friday bombed suspected Kurdish separatist positions in the Kandil mountains of northern Iraq, near the Iraqi border with Iran, the Turkish military announced.”Our planes returned safely to their bases after successfully completing their missions during Friday’s daylight hours,” the General Staff said in a short statement on its official website.

The statement said that the target of operations were Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) positions and that necessary precautions were taken to avoid harming civilians in the area.

The Kandil mountains inside northern Iraq are the main base for PKK rebels, who use the area as a launching pad to stage attacks inside Turkey proper.

The Turkish Air Force has staged almost daily bombing missions inside Iraq in the last two weeks, following a PKK attack on a military border post inside Turkey that left 17 Turkish soldiers dead.

On Friday morning, a General Staff spokesman said that 35 Kurdish separatists had been killed in clashes this week on Mount Cudi in the southeastern Turkish province of Sirnak.

The spokesman told reporters that the number of PKK deaths was learnt through intercepted PKK communications.

Ankara blames the separatist group for the deaths of more than 35,000 people since the early 1980s, when the PKK began its fight for independence or autonomy for the mainly Kurdish-populated southeast of Turkey.

The PKK is considered by the US and the European Union as a terrorist group.

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