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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 December 2007, 10:00 GMT
Turkish jets in fresh Iraq strike
Turkish air force jets (file picture)
Turkey has carried out a series of air strikes on rebels
Turkish warplanes have again launched strikes on Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq, officials say.

There was no word on whether there were any casualties from the strikes, which targeted "caves and hideouts" used by the rebel PKK, the military said.

Turkey launched its offensive against the PKK following an increase in attacks on its troops and civilians.

The Turkish military claimed on Tuesday it had killed hundreds of rebels in northern Iraq in the previous 10 days.

Up to 175 rebels were killed on 16 December alone, the military said.

There has been no confirmation of the figures from Iraqi authorities.

The military said Wednesday's raids were targeted at caves that "a large group of terrorists" were planning to use as winter hideouts.

Iraq incursions

The parliament in Ankara approved cross-border raids on PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) 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.

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

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

But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended the tactics.

"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 on Tuesday.

The US backs Turkish operations against the PKK and has agreed to share intelligence with Ankara - but has urged it against a large-scale ground operation.

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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