March 13, 2009 / 10:25 AM / 9 years ago

Turkey says attacks Kurd rebel targets in N. Iraq

(Adds details, background)

ISTANBUL, March 13 (Reuters) - Turkish warplanes struck Kurdish guerrilla targets in northern Iraq on Thursday, state-run news agency Anatolian reported a military official as saying on Friday.

Turkey’s military has waged offensives both in Turkish territory and across the border in northern Iraq against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Clashes between the Turkish military and the PKK intensify in the spring as heavy snows melt in eastern Turkey and northern Iraq, making it easier for PKK rebels to cross into Turkey and attack military posts.

Military sources previously told Reuters that the army was building up troops along the border with Iraq to prevent the entry of guerrillas into Turkish territory.

There were no further details immediately available about Thursday’s air strikes.

The guerrillas use the mountainous area of Iraq as a base to launch attacks in Turkey.

Nearly 40,000 people have died in conflict between Turkish security forces and the PKK since 1984 when the rebel group picked up arms to establish an ethnic Kurdish homeland in southeastern Turkey.

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