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Monday, May 10, 2010     GET REAL

Turkey launches air strikes on Kurdish 'terrorists' in Iraq

ANKARA — Turkey has renewed air strikes on Iraq.

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Officials said the government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has approved renewed military strikes on Kurdish insurgency targets in Iraq. They said the approval came in the wake of a series of attacks by the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in southern Turkey.

"Operations in the region are continuing and it is believed that the losses of the terrorists are higher," the Turkish military said.


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In a statement on late May 7, the General Staff said the Turkish Air Force sent four attack helicopters into northern Iraq. The statement said the air strike lasted for an hour on suspected PKK targets in Iraq's Kandil mountains.

"After detecting that anti-aircraft fire was opened on [Turkish] helicopters from various positions across the border, the Air Force fired on those positions," the military said. "It has been observed that those positions were destroyed."

This marked the first Turkish strike on Iraq in 2010. Officials said the government approved retaliation after a series of major PKK assaults on military and security force units.

The Turkish attack on Iraq included Israeli-origin unmanned aerial vehicles. The statement said the Air Force sent three groups of up to eight commandos each into northern Iraq.

On early May 7, a force of 25 PKK fighters launched an attack on the Turkish border village of Daglica. Officials said two Turkish soldiers and five PKK fighters were killed.

Despite the air attack, the PKK continued attacks on the Turkish military.

On May 8, two Turkish soldiers were killed in explosions in the provinces of Hakari and Sirnak along the Turkish-Iraqi border.



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