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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 December 2007, 18:43 GMT
Turk Iraq raids 'killed hundreds'
Turkish air force jets (file picture)
Northern Iraq's Kurdish government has condemned the raids
Turkish forces have killed hundreds of Kurdish rebels and struck more than 200 targets in northern Iraq in the past 10 days, the Turkish military has said.

Up to 175 rebels were killed on 16 December alone, the military statement added. More cross-border air raids were reported on Tuesday.

There has been no word on casualty figures from the Iraqi authorities.

Turkey blames rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for launching attacks on Turkey from bases in Iraq.

In another development, the Turkish military said it had killed five Kurdish rebels - including two women - in an operation inside Turkey on Tuesday.

In a statement on its website, the military said helicopter gunships had been used by Turkish forces in the operation on Mount Kupeli in Sirnak province, close to the Iraqi border.

Iraq incursions

Ankara approved cross-border raids on PKK bases in October, saying the Iraqi government and its US backers were not doing enough to halt attacks.

Turkey launched its first cross-border raid on 16 December, which was followed by an incursion by ground forces.

7 Oct PKK rebels kill 13 Turkish troops near Iraqi border
17 Oct - Turkish MPs allow military operations in Iraq
21 Oct - 12 Turkish troops die in PKK ambush near Iraqi border
30 Nov - Turkish cabinet backs PKK pursuits in Iraq
13 Nov - Turkey shells PKK targets in Iraq, Baghdad says
1 Dec - Turkish army targets rebels in Iraq, inflicting "heavy losses"
16 Dec - Turkish jets bomb PKK targets in Iraq for the first time. Incursion by ground forces follows
22 Dec - More air raids on rebel targets

Another offensive was launched on 22 December, with warplanes bombing suspected rebel targets.

The military said the casualty figures did not include rebels hit in hideouts and caves, adding that "many" wounded fighters were taken to hospitals in several cities in northern Iraq.

Targets hit include three command centres, two communications centres, two training camps, nine logistical areas, 182 living quarters and 14 arsenals, the statement said.

On Monday, the president of the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani, condemned Turkey's raids and warned Ankara to stop the strikes.

But on Tuesday they were again defended by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"No matter who says what, we are using and continue to use air and land operations within the framework of authority granted by international law," he told a meeting of his Justice and Development (AK) political party.

The US backs Turkish operations against the PKK and has agreed to share intelligence with Ankara.

The PKK - which is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and the EU - is thought to have about 3,000 rebels based in Iraq.

For decades, it has been fighting for a Kurdish homeland separate from Turkey.

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