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Iraqi Officials Say 300 Turkish Troops Have Entered Northern Iraq

By VOA News
18 December 2007

Iraqi and Kurdish officials say 300 Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq Tuesday.

They say the soldiers moved three kilometers into Iraqi territory. No immediate clashes were reported.

Turkey has threatened to attack rebels with the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq. About 100,000 Turkish troops are massed on the Iraqi border.

Turkey's government accuses the rebels of using bases in northern Iraq to carry out attacks in southeastern Turkey.

Tuesday's Washington Post quotes unnamed Pentagon officials as saying the United States is providing Turkey with real-time intelligence that has helped the Turkish military target the rebels in a series of attacks this month.

The officials say U.S. military personnel have created a center for sharing intelligence in Ankara.

At the same time, White House and State Department officials Monday declined to clarify whether the United States had explicitly approved the strikes. They said only that they were advised of the action in advance.

Also on Monday, Iraq's parliament condemned earlier strikes on a Kurdish region in northern Iraq as a major violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul says the attacks were aimed only at PKK rebel bases. But Iraqi Kurdish officials say several villages sustained heavy damage and at least one civilian was killed.

Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, says the Turkish bombardment in northern Iraq has forced 1,800 people to leave their homes.

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



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