April 30, 2009 / 9:06 AM / 11 years ago

Turkish warplanes hit suspected PKK in Iraq

(Adds details)

ANKARA, April 30 (Reuters) - Turkey’s military said it had launched air strikes against suspected Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq overnight and on Thursday.

The operation came after nine Turkish soldiers were killed by a bomb in Turkey’s southeast on Wednesday, in the deadliest such attack on security forces in months.

No further details were immediately available.

The separatist PKK guerrilla, which has fought a 25-year war with the authorities over Kurdish rights, claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack.

Two Turkish soldiers were also injured in a separate firefight with PKK in the central province of Tunceli, a military source said.

The military frequently carries out air operations against PKK rebels based in neighbouring Iraq, from where the guerrillas launch attacks on Turkish security forces.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by Washington and the European Union, has been militarily weakened by repeated air raids by Turkish warplanes, analysts say.

The group took up arms in 1984 with the aim of setting up an ethnic homeland for Kurds in southeast Turkey. The separatist conflict has killed 40,000 people.

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