Turkey launches air attacks on Kurdish separatists inside Iraq

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Turkey conducted airstrikes on Kurdish separatist rebels in northern Iraq less than a week after the end of a large-scale ground operation, an Iraqi official said Wednesday.

Turkey's military did not confirm or deny the report. If confirmed, it would be the first air attacks since the military ended its eight-day ground incursion Friday.

Saleh Ali, a captain in the Iraqi border guards, said Turkish aircraft bombarded Dashti Barzji, a remote area in Irbil province about 15 miles from the border. He said there were no reports of casualties or damage.

The private Turkish station NTV cited unnamed Iraqi Kurdish officials as saying Turkish helicopters had attacked in the region of Sidekan, 30 miles south of the border.

On Friday the Turkish military ended a ground incursion against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which has been accused of using havens in northern Iraq to launch guerrilla attacks against Turkish targets. U.S. officials pressured Turkey to quickly wrap up the operation.

The decision to end the incursion prompted criticism in Turkey, where the opposition accused the government of bowing to pressure from Washington to end the campaign prematurely.

Senior Turkish military officials have said the ground incursion was a success, and Turkey's political and military leaders have strongly denied any U.S. influence on the decision to withdraw troops from Iraq.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and has fought for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey's southeast.

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>>Fast facts

Also in Iraq

Chemical Ali: The Iraqi government is refusing to execute Ali Hassan al-Majid, the Saddam Hussein henchman and cousin known as "Chemical Ali," unless the death sentences of two other Hussein-era officials also are approved. The three-member presidential council blocked the two executions last week in what was seen as a possible attempt to appease minority Sunni Arabs.

U.S.-Iran meeting? Iraqi and Iranian officials said the United States and Iran planned to meet today for their fourth discussion on Iraqi security, but the United States said no meeting was planned.

Oil deals: Iraq's Cabinet has given the green light to the Oil Ministry to sign agreements with international oil companies to help increase the nation's crude output, an unidentified ministry official told the Associated Press on Wednesday. The two-year deals are designed to develop five producing fields to add 500,000 barrels per day to the country's 2.4-million-barrels-per-day output.

Turkey launches air attacks on Kurdish separatists inside Iraq 03/05/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:28am]

    

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