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50 Turkish fighter jets bomb PKK positions in north Iraq: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A file photo of Turkish fighter jets

Turkish fighter jets have carried out a massive operation against the positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group in northern Iraq, killing up to 40 of its members, a report says.

Over 50 Turkish warplanes took part in the six-hour raids early on Tuesday, killing “35 to 40 terrorists according to preliminary findings,” official Turkish Anatolia news agency said.

According to the news agency, 35 F-16 jets and 18 F-4 phantoms participated in the attacks on the PKK targets.

Killing, and getting killed

The operation came two days after 16 Turkish soldiers were killed and six others injured in an exchange of fire and a roadside bomb attack carried out by the PKK in the Kurdish-dominated southeastern Turkish province of Hakkari.

Following the raid, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu pledged to eradicate PKK militants at any price.

“These mountains will be cleaned of terrorists. Whatever happens they will be cleaned,” Davutoglu said on Monday.

Ankara launched airstrikes against PKK positions in Iraq and Turkey as well as purported Daesh (ISIL) targets in Syria after a deadly July 20 bomb attack attributed to Daesh terrorists left 32 people dead in the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc, across the border from the northern Syrian town of Kobani.

A shaky ceasefire between Anakara and the PKK that had stood since 2013 was declared null and void by the militants following the Turkish airstrikes against the group.

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since the 1984. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead.


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