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Turkish warplanes bomb Kurdish hideouts in northern Iraq

Turkish warplanes have struck several locations in northern Iraq believed to be Kurdish rebel hideouts, the army said Monday.

The strikes follow a June 19 rebel attack on an army outpost near the Iraqi border that killed eight Turkish soldiers and wounded another 19.

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The army command said in a statement that it hit "three targets belonging to the separatist terrorist organisation," referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels, after exploratory flights located their suspected hideouts.

The jets safely returned to their bases in Turkey, the statement added, without specifying when the air strikes had taken place.

In a subsequent statement, the army said it had also bombed PKK hideouts on June 24, when 25 rebels were killed and another 23 injured.

Another 30 or so rebels were killed during the June 19 clash, according to the army.

The bombings of rebel bases come amid government efforts to soften tensions with the Kurdish minority, but a recent spike in PKK violence in the southeast may force the government to keep up military action, according to analysts.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms in the Kurdish-majority southeast Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

The army statement came as an Istanbul court on Monday began a high-profile trial of some 200 suspects alleged to be linked to the Union of Kurdistan Communities, which authorities say is a wing of the PKK.

by Patrick Rahir © 2012 AFP

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Source : AFP

Published on ASDNews: Jul 2, 2012


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