[A-List] Turkish incursion into northern Iraq?
sabri_oncu at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 5 20:55:38 MDT 2007
Kurdish rebels attack Turkish military outpost; 7 soldiers killed
The Associated Press
Sunday, June 3, 2007
ANKARA, Turkey: Kurdish rebels fired rockets and grenades at a Turkish military
outpost Monday, killing 7 soldiers in a bold attack that heightened tension at
a time when Ankara has threatened military action against Kurdish rebels in
The army sent helicopter gunships and reinforcements to Tunceli province in
southeastern Turkey after two guerrillas rammed a vehicle into the military
post, throwing hand grenades and opening fire with automatic weapons, the
governor's office announced.
Soldiers returned fire, killing one of them who had explosives strapped to
his body, the governor's office said. Local media said the second attacker
Several other guerrillas simultaneously opened fire on the outpost from a
nearby forest, the governor's office said. The attack left seven soldiers dead
and seven others injured. One of the injured was in critical condition,
The attack came as Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told European Union officials
visiting Ankara that "we have every right to take measures against terrorist
activities directed at us from northern Iraq."
Turkey's political and military leaders have been debating whether to stage an
incursion into northern Iraq to try to root out Kurdish rebel bases there.
However, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose country holds
the EU presidency, said he "did not get the impression that Turkey would stage
On Monday, a pro-Kurdish news agency reported that Turkish troops shelled a
border area in northern Iraq for a second day in an attack on Kurdish rebels
Abdul-Rahman al-Chadarchi, a spokesman for the Kurdish rebel group PKK, told
The Associated Press by telephone that there had been artillery shelling from
Turkey into Iraqi territory at dawn, and that there had been simultaneous
shelling from the Turkish and Iranian sides on Sunday night.
"There were no casualties. Most of the shells landed in empty areas, valleys
and farms. Turkish helicopters are conducting surveillance flights over Iraqi
border lands," al-Chadarchi said.
The report could not immediately be confirmed.
The leader of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani,
confirmed shelling by Turkish troops on Kurdish areas early Sunday but said
there was no Turkish incursion.
On Monday, the Belgium-based Firat news agency, citing Iraqi Kurdish sources,
said Turkish artillery again targeted an area close to the border town of
Zakho. On Sunday, the agency said the troops shelled the Hakurk area, further
Turkish authorities, who have called the Firat agency a mouthpiece of the main
Kurdish rebel group, the PKK, were not immediately available to comment.
Kurdish guerrillas have long had camps in the Hakurk area, 15 kilometers (nine
miles) from the Turkish border.
Turkish troops have occasionally launched brief raids in pursuit of guerrillas
in northern Iraq, and have sometimes shelled suspected rebel positions across
the border. Turkish authorities rarely acknowledge such military operations,
which were more frequent before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Turkey has been building up its military forces on the Iraqi border in recent
weeks, amid debate over whether to launch a cross border offensive to attack
separatist rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known by its Kurdish
acronym, PKK. The rebels stage raids in southeast Turkey after crossing over
from hide-outs in Iraq and have escalated bomb attacks in the west of the
Police on Monday arrested a suspected PKK rebel who allegedly staged last
month's market bombing in the Aegean port city of Izmir that killed one person
and injured 15 others.
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