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Turkey 'neutralizes' most wanted PKK terrorist in northern Iraq

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)
Slain PKK terrorist Ismail Ozden, better known by the nom de guerre Mam Zeki Sengali (Photo by the Turkish-language Milat newspaper)

Turkish military forces have killed a high-ranking member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group during a counter-terrorism operation in Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The Turkish General Staff announced in a statement published on its official Twitter page that Ismail Ozden, better known by the nom de guerre Mam Zeki Sengali, was “neutralized” during an offensive in the Kurdish-populated town of Sinjar, situated over 400 kilometers northwest of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. 

The statement added that 66-year-old Ozden was the first PKK militant on the red category of Turkey’s terror blacklist to be "neutralized" in an operation abroad.

The Turkish military generally uses the term "neutralize" to signify that the militants were killed, captured or surrendered.

Meanwhile, five PKK terrorists were killed in an anti-terror operation in Turkey’s eastern province of Bingol.

The Turkish General Staff stated that military aircraft targeted a militant hideout in the Adakli district of the province as the terrorists were preparing for an attack.

In this file picture, militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) stand in formation in northern Iraq. (Photo by Reuters)

PKK militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.

Turkey, along with the European Union and the United States, has declared the PKK a terrorist group and banned it. The militant group has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.

A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.

Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out operations against PKK positions in the country as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.

More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.

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