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Turkey vows more action against rebel Kurds in Iraq

Latest update : 2008-10-07

Turkish war planes struck at targets in northern Iraq for a second straight day on Tuesday. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan pledged to intensify a campaign to crush PKK rebels holed up there after 17 Turkish soldiers were killed in an ambush.

ANKARA - Turkish warplanes pounded suspected Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq for a second straight day on Tuesday, stepping up a bombing campaign after the death of 17 Turkish soldiers in a cross-border ambush.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and the powerful military have pledged to intensify a campaign to crush the outlawed PKK after Friday's attack, the deadliest against the military in a year.

"Warplanes belonging to Turkey's Air Forces hit 21 targets in northern Iraq in the Avasin Basyan and Bozul mountain regions early in the morning on 7 Oct 2008," the General Staff said in a statement. "Planes safely came back to base."

There was no indication of whether the raids had caused casualties or what damage had been caused.

NATO member Turkey has attacked PKK bases in northern Iraq several times over the past 12 months, but has staged almost daily raids since Friday.

Several thousand PKK fighters are believed to be based in northern Iraq, from where they stage attacks on mainly military targets in south-east Turkey.

Turkey blames the PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and the EU, for the deaths of more than 40,000 people since it launched its armed campaign for an ethnic Kurdish homeland in south-east Turkey in 1984.

Date created : 2008-10-07