Turkish warplanes bombed separatist Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq early yesterday, Turkey's military said in a statement posted on its Web site.
One woman was killed in the airstrikes, a local official in Iraq said.
It was the first confirmed operation with fighter jets against rebel targets across the border since the invasion of Iraq, although Turkey has hit Iraqi territory with ground-based artillery and with helicopters.
The US and Iraq have urged Turkey to avoid a major operation against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq, fearing such an operation would destabilize what has been the most stable region in the country.
The attack follows a promise last month by the US to share intelligence about the rebels with Turkey.
The warplanes bombed targets of the PKK in regions close to the border with Turkey as well as in the Qandil mountain chain, which is further away from the frontier, the military's statement said. All planes returned to their bases safely, it said.
After the planes left the operation zone, the army continued firing on the targets with long-range weapons, the military said. Artillery units could be seen firing shells toward Iraq in the early hours yesterday from the town of Cukurca -- where the borders of Turkey, Iran and Iraq meet -- private Dogan news agency footage showed.
Earlier this month, the military said it fired on a group of about 50 to 60 PKK guerrillas inside Iraqi territory, inflicting "significant losses."
Abdullah Ibrahim, a top local official in the Iraqi administrative center of Sangasar, said Turkish warplanes bombarded 10 Kurdish villages, killing one woman and injuring two others.
Ibrahim acknowledged that there were Kurdish rebel bases in the area, about 170km from the Turkish border, but said they were far from the villages that were hit.
"The villagers are now scared and are hiding in nearby caves. They lost all their properties," Ibrahim said.
An Iraqi army officer with the border guard said the attack was on three villages in Iraq's Qandil mountains, where Turkish and Iranian Kurdish rebels are based.
The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.
Villages are scattered in the Qandil mountains, some as far as an hour's drive apart over steep roads and paths.
Private NTV television claimed that one of the targets hit was a PKK "command center" in northern Iraq.
PKK "targets in the regions of Zap, Avasin and Hakourk located in Iraq's north, and deep in the Qandil mountains ... were hit through a large-scope aerial operation of the Turkish Air Force," the military said.
It said the air strikes began at 1am local time and the planes returned at 4:15am.
Turkish news reports said the planes had taken off from an air base in Diyarbakir, in southeast Turkey.
The military, in its statement, vowed to press ahead with operations against the PKK "according to military needs with determination."
It said the operation was directed against the PKK and not against the local population in northern Iraq.
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
TRILLION PROPOSED: The premier said the goal was to keep ‘businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing’ The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment. The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. The NT$150 billion increase in the
TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas. The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection. “When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill
The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries. The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter. “We