Turkey bombs PKK targets in N. Iraq

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish separatist targets on Tuesday in northern Iraq with the backing of artillery fire from Turkey, the military said.

Violence has increased between Turkish security forces and the separatist rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as tensions have risen in predominantly Kurdish southeastern Turkey.

The PKK uses northern Iraq as a base to launch attacks on targets inside Turkey.

The military said it had successfully hit the targets and that planes had returned safely to their Turkish bases. No civilians had been targeted or hit in the raid, it said.

Turkey has stepped up its military response since an attack from the PKK which killed 17 Turkish soldiers this month, and the parliament renewed a mandate earlier this month to allow military raids on separatists in northern Iraq.

Last Friday the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, met a senior military official in Turkey to discuss Kurdish rebels launching attacks into Turkey from northern Iraq.

Ankara, like the European Union and the United States, considers the PKK a terrorist organization.

Some 40,000 have been killed since 1984 when the PKK took up arms to carve out an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey.

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