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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Turkish Troops Kill 14 Kurdish Rebels Near Iraq Border

By VOA News
05 December 2007

The Turkish army says its soldiers have killed at least 14 Kurdish rebels in clashes near the border with Iraq.

The army said Wednesday eight more rebels were killed in fighting in the southeastern province of Sirnak.

Tuesday, the army said six rebels and one army officer were killed in clashes.

Officials say the rebels were part of a group responsible for an ambush that killed 13 soldiers in Sirnak on October 7.

That attack prompted Turkey to mass tens of thousands of troops along the Iraqi border for a possible military operation against rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

Ankara accuses PKK rebels of using bases in northern Iraq to launch deadly attacks in southeastern Turkey.

Separately, the commander of U.S. forces in Europe, General Bantz Craddock, says the rebels are employing tactics similar to those used by insurgents. He said Turkey should focus on counterinsurgency measures, including ways to deal with the disputes that are fueling the conflict.

Last month, Turkey's parliament approved a resolution giving the government the authority to order a cross-border military operation against PKK militants in Iraq.

The United States and Iraq have urged Turkey not to launch a cross-border incursion, fearing that it could destabilize the relatively peaceful region of northern Iraq.

The PKK has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984. More than 30,000 people have died in the conflict.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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