21 Oct 2011

Turkish incursion continues

7:45 am on 21 October 2011

A major Turkish military offensive is continuing in northern Iraq, following a deadly attack by Kurdish rebels inside Turkey.

Ankara said 22 battalions (about 10,000 soldiers) were taking part in the operation in northern Iraq and also south-eastern Turkey.

Commandos and paramilitary forces are being backed by war planes and helicopters.

On Tuesday, Kurdish PKK rebels killed 24 soldiers near the Iraqi border.

In a statement on Thursday, the Turkish military said that 22 battalions were involved in the operation.

It said ground troops were being reinforced by F-16 and F-4 jets and Cobra helicopter gunships.

The operation was focusing on five separate areas, the statement added, without giving details how many troops were deployed in Turkey and Iraq.

Unconfirmed reports say that 21 Kurdish militants have been killed since the Turkish operation was launched on Wednesday, after two simultaneous ambushes in Cukurca and the district of Yuksekova.

Ankara said that 24 soldiers were killed and another 18 wounded.