Turkey’s military yesteday said its air strikes on suspected Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq this week have killed an estimated 90 to 100 guerrillas and warned that it would press ahead with offensives against the group both inside Turkey and across the border.
In a statement posted on its Web site, the military also said more than 80 rebels were injured in six days of cross-border air raids that began last Wednesday, hours after eight soldiers and a government-paid village guard were killed in an ambush by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near the border with Iraq.
“According to initial information obtained, between 90 and 100 terrorists were rendered ineffective, more than 80 wounded terrorists were moved to hospitals or villages, and contact with a high number of terrorists was cut,” the military said.
“Rendered ineffective” is a term used to refer to rebels killed.
“Iraq’s north and domestic areas will be monitored for separatist terrorist activity and air and ground operations will continue,” it said.
The military said the targets hit included 79 shelters and hideouts, 18 caves, eight depots, 14 PKK buildings or facilities, one ammunition depot, nine anti-aircraft gun positions and three rebel road blocks.
The rebels have so far denied any losses, insisting that areas hit by the Turkish warplanes were long-abandoned bases. Kurdish authorities have, meanwhile, reported that seven civilians, including children, were killed while trying to escape the raids.
Turkey’s military insisted that all targets were carefully pinpointed through repeated reconnaissance flights before being hit.