Turkey Says Air Raids Killed 90 to 100 Kurdish Rebels

Posted August 23rd, 2011 at 5:05 am (UTC-5)
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Turkey's military says it has killed an estimated 90 to 100 Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq since launching airstrikes and artillery attacks last week.

The military said in a statement Tuesday that Turkish warplanes have struck 132 targets during the campaign, and that another 80 rebels have been wounded. It also said the air and ground operations will continue.

The casualty figures have not been verified, and local authorities say seven people have been killed in the strikes.

The air raids follow a surge in attacks by Kurdistan Workers' Party rebels against the Turkish military.

Ankara launched the operation last week after PKK rebels ambushed a military convoy in Turkey, killing at least eight Turkish soldiers near the border with Iraq.

Turkey, the United States and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist group.

Turkey has promised a renewed crackdown on the rebels, who have waged a campaign for autonomy in the country's largely Kurdish southeast since 1984. The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people.

Since calling off a cease-fire in February, the PKK has adopted what it calls an “active defense” stance, which allows its fighters to defend themselves if they feel threatened.