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Turkish troops carry out raid against rebels in north Iraq

RIA Novosti

18/12/2007 20:25 ANKARA, December 18 (RIA Novosti) - A unit of Turkish special forces numbering about 300 carried out a brief incursion early on Tuesday against Kurdish rebels, about three kilometers into Iraqi territory.

"Authorities in northern Iraq confirm the fact of the incursion into the region by an army unit, near the border between Turkey, Iran and Iraq, but they have no information of any armed clashes during the raid," Turkey's Kanal 24 reported.

Turkish military headquarters has so far refused to comment on the reports.

In mid-October, Turkey's parliament sanctioned military cross-border operations against PKK separatists following an earlier government request and despite opposition from Washington and Baghdad.

The PKK, labeled by the U.S., NATO and the EU as a terrorist organization, has been fighting for autonomy status in southeast Turkey for nearly 25 years. The conflict has so far claimed about 40,000 lives.

At least 80 Kurdish militants and over 50 Turkish soldiers have been killed in sporadic clashes near the border with Iraq since September.



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