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General

Turkish Warplanes Bomb Northern Iraq, Kill 19

Turkish fighter jets have bombarded an area in northern Iraq, killing at least 19 people.

The warplanes targeted the northern Iraqi region of Gara on Saturday.

Turkish military sources claimed that the fighter jets had hit the positions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the mountainous region.

The sources said the PKK militants had been preparing to attack Turkish military units at the border and the airstrikes had been launched to neutralize that threat.

Ankara designates the PKK a terrorist group and has been engaged in a large-scale campaign against the group in its southern border region over the past few months.

The Turkish military has also been pounding the group's alleged positions in Iraq and Syria in breach of the Arab countries' sovereignty.

Turkey and the PKK had ceased long-running armed hostilities since 2013, until a deadly July 2015 bombing in Suruc, which the Turkish government blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

After the bombing, the PKK militants, who accuse Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, prompting Turkey's military operations in turn.

In a highly controversial case, Turkey earlier deployed ground troops to the Iraqi town of Bashiqa, where Kurdish forces had earlier pushed out Daesh.

The deployment has been the source of major tensions with the Baghdad government, which says the military move was not sanctioned by it, Press TV reports.

Source: Al Alam


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