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Turkish jets keep bombing northern Iraq: security sources

22 october 2011, 11:42
Turkish air force jets bombed Kurdish rebels camps in northern Iraq overnight in response to the attacks which killed 24 soldiers in the southeast, local security sources said Thursday, AFP reports.

Military activity at the air base in mainly Kurdish Diyarbakir province was very intensive throughout the night with many F-16 jets taking off to bomb the hideouts of the seperatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), they said.

The intense military activity also disrupted civilian air traffic in Diyarbakir, they added.

PKK attacks against military posts along the border with Iraq killed 24 people and injured 18 late Tuesday.

According to press reports, the attacks were carried out when between 200 and 250 Kurdish rebels entrenched in the mountains of northern Iraq entered Turkish territory to carry out raids on several military posts.

The Turkish aircraft had immediately responded to the rebel attack. Commandos were also dispatched in pursuit of the assailants and special units were sent by helicopter a few kilometres inside Iraqi territory.

The toll from the attacks was the heaviest for the army since 1993. It has sent shockwaves across the country, which was to bury its dead Thursday.

President Abdullah Gul, who recently made a morale-boosting visit to border troops, said Turkey's revenge for the attacks would be bitter.

Clashes between the PKK and the army have escalated since the summer.

Five police and four civilians were killed in a landmine explosion in the southeast on Tuesday.

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

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