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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

23 Kurdish rebels killed on Iraqi border- Turkish General Staff

RIA Novosti

21/10/2007 16:19 ANKARA, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - Turkey's General Staff said on Sunday that 23 Kurdish rebels and 12 Turkish soldiers had been killed in clashes near the border with Iraq.

Turkey's military said the Turkish troops had killed the rebels in the fighting that followed a rebel attack, adding that the army also shelled 63 rebel targets.

Turkey's parliament sanctioned on Wednesday military cross-border operations against around 3,500 militants from the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), believed to be based in Iraq, following a government request earlier this week.

Turkey's National Security Council will discuss on October 24 an "action plan" following parliament's decision, which authorizes a military operation for one year but sets out no specific timetable.

The Turkish military has prepared several scenarios for a cross-border operation in northern Iraq to counter Kurdish rebels. The country has been amassing troops in provinces bordering on Iraq, and shelling suspected rebel positions along the border.

The PKK has been fighting for autonomy status in southeast Turkey for nearly 25 years, and recently intensified attacks along the Iraqi border. The conflict has claimed about 40,000 lives.

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