Turkish warplanes strike Kurdish targets in northern Iraq

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s Defence Ministry said its warplanes struck Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq’s Haftanin region on Wednesday, the second such operation launched against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in recent days.

“Our heroic commandos are in Haftanin,” the ministry said on Twitter, dubbing the new operation “Claw-Tiger”.

“In order to neutralise the PKK and other terrorist elements threatening our people and our borders, our Air Force, along with fire-support equipment, helicopters and our commandos, supported by armed and unarmed drones, have mobilised to the region with air operations,” the ministry said.

Wednesday’s strike came just days after Turkey revealed an operation it called “Claw-Eagle” had struck PKK targets in various regions of northern Iraq.

Turkey regularly targets PKK militants, both in its mainly Kurdish southeast and in northern Iraq, where the group is based. The two latest airstrikes come amid what Ankara says is an increase in militant attacks on Turkish army bases.

Turkey has also warned in recent years of a potential ground offensive targeting PKK bases in the Qandil mountains.

The PKK, designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict, focused in southeast Turkey.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; editing by Jane Wardell