Turkey’s air force bombarded Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq this week, killing 67 rebel fighters, the military said today, the first such strikes in nearly a month.
The air strikes, carried out by 14 F-16 and F-4 fighter-bombers, hit camps and other installations run by the PKK, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and its Western allies, the military said in a statement carried by local media.
It is the first such operation against PKK bases in Iraq since February 18, when the air force launched raids in retaliation for a suicide bombing in Ankara that killed 29 people, which Turkey blamed on Kurdish rebels.
The Ankara attack, which targeted a convoy of five buses carrying army staff, was claimed by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), who have been linked to the PKK.
Turkey has in recent months waged an all-out assault on the PKK, which launched an insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984, fighting for greater autonomy and rights for the country’s largest ethnic minority.
After more than two years of ceasefire, deadly clashes restarted last year between security forces and rebels in the Kurdish-dominated southeast.
Last month Turkey carried out artillery bombardments on Kurdish fighters in Syria and threatened to extend the action to include air strikes.
Turkey targeted the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which it considers to be a terror group linked to the PKK despite support for the group from Ankara’s ally Washington.