World News

Turkey shells Northern Iraq after attack

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Turkey’s army heavily shelled Kurdish rebel targets just inside the border of northern Iraq on Wednesday, a Kurdish official said on Thursday, adding there were no casualties.

Jabar Yawer, deputy minister for Peshmerga security forces in northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, said the barrage followed the killing of three Turkish soldiers when their vehicle hit a rebel landmine near the border with Iraq.

Yawer said about 100 shells were fired at an area near the town of Zakho inside northern Iraq and residents were forced to flee. Kurdish officials denied reports Turkish war planes carried out bombing raids.

Turkey accuses militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) of using bases in the mountains of northern Iraq to hit its forces.

The Turkish army has raised troop levels in the country’s restive southeast to 200,000, security sources say, and refuses to rule out the possibility of a cross-border operation.

Turkey’s military is known to sometimes shell PKK targets inside Iraq, as well as stage small raids across the border.

The PKK took up arms against Turkey in 1984 with the aim of creating an ethnic Kurdish homeland. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the conflict.