Last updated: 9 March, 2012

Turkish jets strike north Iraq

A Kurdish rebel group said on Friday that Turkey’s air force carried out air strikes on border areas of north Iraq, but gave no details about casualties or damage.

“On March 8, between 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) and 8:00 pm (1700 GMT), F-16 jet fighters belonging to the occupation army of Turkey launched air raids” against the Jabal Mattine area, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) said in a statement.

It gave no further details.

The air strikes were the first reported raids in around a month on north Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, where the PKK maintains rear bases.

Fighting between Turkish forces and PKK rebels has escalated in recent months.

In October, Turkey launched a major air and land offensive against the rebels in the southeast of the country and in neighbouring northern Iraq after 24 of its troops were killed in a night-time ambush by rebels.

The PKK took up arms in Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives. It is labelled a terrorist outfit by Ankara and much of the international community.