December 16, 2008 / 6:17 PM / 11 years ago

Turkish military says it hit targets in Northern Iraq

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish fighter planes carried out bombing raids against Kurdish separatist targets in northern Iraq on Tuesday, the Turkish military said.

The planes had returned safely after hitting Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Tuesday afternoon, a statement said.

Jabbar Yawar, spokesman for the Peshmerga security forces belonging to the semi-autonomous government of Iraqi Kurdistan, said the town of Chuman, in a border region northeast of the Kurdish city of Arbil, had been targeted for about an hour, but there had been no casualties.

Ankara has stepped up military action against PKK rebels who claimed responsibility for blowing up part of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline between Iraq and Turkey last month.

NATO member Turkey, the European Union and United States refer to the PKK as a terrorist organization.

Around 40,000 people have been killed in fighting between the PKK and the military since 1984, when the PKK took up arms to establish an ethnic homeland in southeast Turkey.

Yawar also said a mountainous area in northeastern Iraq was hit by artillery shells from across Iraq’s border with Iran.

Iran occasionally shells northern Iraq, where it says separatist rebels take shelter.

Reporting by Thomas Grove; editing by Richard Balmforth

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