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AFP
Last updated: July 25, 2015

Turkish jets bomb PKK Kurdish rebels in Iraq: spokesman

Turkish warplanes bombed military positions of Turkey's rebel Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in neighbouring Iraq Friday, a spokesman for the rebel organisation said.

"At around 11:00 pm (2000 GMT) tonight, Turkish warplanes started bombing our positions near the border, accompanied by heavy artillery shelling," PKK spokesman in Iraq Bakhtiar Dogan told AFP.

He said the strikes targeted mountain positions in the north of the Dohuk province, which is part of Iraq's northern autonomous region of Kurdistan.

The PKK, which is banned in Turkey and has long had a presence in Iraq, has several training camps in Dohuk, a province that also borders Kurdish areas of Syria.

Dogan also said that jets had flown over the Qandil mountains, an area north of the Iraqi Kurdish capital Arbil which the PKK's political leadership has been using as a safe haven, but had not conducted any strikes there.

If confirmed, the Turkish strikes against the PKK in Iraq would come on the same day as Turkey's first air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria.

Turkish television channels late Friday reported that F-16 jets had taken off from their base in the southeastern city in Diyarbakir for what they had said would be a second wave of strikes against IS.

The military action by Ankara, which has been accused of colluding with the jihadist group that last year declared a "caliphate" straddling Iraq and Syria, was seen as a potential game changer in the war against IS.

But the Turkish government had also vowed to take action against the PKK separatist militants who have claimed attacks on the security forces in the last days.

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