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At least 7 killed after Turkish fighter jets attack Iraq's Kurdish region


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At least 7 killed after Turkish fighter jets attack Iraq's Kurdish region

2011-08-22 23:19:05 GMT+7 (ICT)

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BNO NEWS) -- At least seven people have been confirmed dead after the recent air strikes by Turkish fighter jets targeting suspected rebels in Iraq's Kurdish region, local authorities confirmed on Monday.

Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) spokesman Ahmed Bneef told the Aswat al-Iraq news agency that a group of civilians were driving their car on Sunday when a missile strike hit their vehicle. Among the dead were women and children, he said. Iraqi army and government officials also confirmed the deaths of at least seven civilians.

Massoud Barzani, President of northern Iraq's Kurdistan Region, condemned the attacks and expressed anger, saying the air raids have no justification. He also called on Turkey not to repeat the attacks.

However, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir BozdaÄŸ said the fight against terrorism would continue until its roots are destroyed. "Air and land operations to the dens of terror have taken place, and they will continue without hesitation when necessary," he said, calling on all political parties to show unity with the ruling party's fight against terror.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish Regional Administration said it was no longer the time for war or violence, underlining that the issue could only be solved through peace and dialogue.

The airstrikes also triggered clashes between protesters and police in Istanbul's Taksim Square on Sunday. The demonstrators, fronted by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, were stopped by police, preventing the group of protesters from gathering at the square and conducting a sit-in.

Last Wednesday, twelve Turkish soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb and an ambush targeted a military convoy in Turkey's southeastern province of Hakkari near the Iraqi border. Among the fatalities was a military officer who was in command of the troops.

Turkey responded with fighter jets bombing suspected Kurdish rebel bases in the Meteen area of Iraq later that evening, and additional airstrikes by the Turkish military were carried out the following days.

Suspected PKK rebels, which have killed at least 40 Turkish soldiers since July, also conducted further attacks against Turkish military posts with rocket launchers and assault rifles on Thursday evening, killing two soldiers in the Eruh district of Siirt Province.

According to Turkish officials, on Saturday, the third day of the raids, 20 air attacks and 85 artillery units hit their targets in the Kandil Mountains, as well as the Sinaht-Haftanin, Hakurk and Gara regions.

The PKK, which has been labeled as a terrorist organizations by the United States and the European Union, was established in 1984 in its efforts to establish the eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey as an autonomous Kurdish state. Over 40,000 soldiers and civilians have been killed in violent clashes since the group took arms. The PKK maintains its military bases across the Iraqi border.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-08-22

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