Turkish military spokesman Brigadier General Metin Gurak said today that last week’s air strikes into northern Iraq killed 25 Kurdish rebels and wounded an unknown number of others. Brig. Gen. Gurak cited intelligence reports as the source of his casualty figures. The rebels have not yet commented. He also said Turkish forces killed an additional 17 rebels in internal operations.
The strike was the latest of several air strikes launched by Turkey into the northern Iraqi mountain strongholds of the rebels since an attack earlier this month killed at least 15 Turkish soldiers. In addition to launching the strikes, the Turkish government has petitioned the Iraqi government for cooperation against the rebels, and accused the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan of aiding the rebels by providing “infrastructural capabilities.”
The Kurdish rebel forces have been operating in the mountainous area along northern Iraq’s border with Turkey for years, and Turkey has regularly targeted the area with air strikes. The Turkish Army also briefly invaded the region in February, in an eight day operation they claimed killed 240 rebels and 27 soldiers. The Iraqi government condemned the incursion as a violation of its sovereignty.