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Monday, May 17, 1999 Published at 21:04 GMT 22:04 UK


World: Europe

Turkey confirms incursion into Iraq


The Turkish army says that it has sent troops across the border into Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels, the first official confirmation of such an operation since a complaint by Iraq on Friday.

A military statement said seventy-three rebels had been killed or captured so far, and four soldiers had died; the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK, disputes the figures.

The operation, which began last week, is reported to involve several thousand troops.

Iraq has asked the United Nations to seek an immediate withdrawal. The BBC correspondent in Ankara says that although Turkey's allies are not completely comfortable with Turkey's repeated incursions, they have sympathy with Turkey's struggle against the PKK, and need Ankara's support in their efforts to isolate the Iraqi government.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service



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