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Friday, October 21, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Turkish forces enter northern Iraq in search
of Kurdish bases

ANKARA — Turkey has again invaded neighboring Iraq in search of Kurdish rebels.


Officials said about 10,000 Turkish infantry and special forces punched into northern Iraq on Oct. 19 in an effort to destroy bases of the Kurdish Workers Party. They said the operation was in response to a PKK strike in southeastern Turkey in which at least 26 soldiers were killed.

"Our goal is to achieve results with this operation," Prime Minister Recep Erdgoan, who canceled a foreign visit, said. "The military is determinedly conducting this from both the air and the ground."

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Officials said about 1,000 Turkish Army commandos, backed by AH-1Z attack helicopters as well as F-16 and F-4 combat jets, reached Iraq's Kandil mountains. They said the commandos were part of a force of 22 army battalions sent to drive out the PKK presence of an estimated 2,000 fighters in northern Iraq.

About 100 Kurdish fighters, armed with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, were said to have struck police and military bases in Turkey's Hakari province.

The PKK also used roadside bombs to ambush police patrols in the border area. On Oct. 20, the Turkish daily Radikal reported that Syrian Kurdish commander Fehman Hussein led the latest attacks.

Security sources said the PKK has become more effective in operations in 2011. They said the rebels appeared to have obtained superior equipment and training from elements within the security forces of the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government.

"No one should forget that those who make us suffer this pain will be made to suffer even stronger," Turkish President Abdullah Gul said. "They will see that the vengeance for these attacks will be immense."

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