Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Saturday, 29 March 2008

Turkey hits rebel targets in Iraq

Click to view a detailed map of the border region

Turkey has been bombarding Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq with aircraft and artillery, the Turkish military has said.

At least 15 rebels died in cross-border shelling on Thursday as they prepared to attack targets in Turkey, it added.

Air strikes were carried out on Friday, but it was unclear how many casualties had been caused by the raids.

In a week-long offensive last month, Turkey targeted bases it said were used by rebels for cross-border attacks.

Up to 3,000 Kurdish rebels attached to the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers' Party, used the bases, it said.

The Turkish military said at least 240 PKK militants and some 27 members of the Turkish security forces had died - figures that the PKK disputed.

Turkey ended the campaign after being urged to withdraw by Iraq and the US, amid fears that Iraqi Kurds could get dragged into the fighting.

The Iraqi authorities, while stressing they did not support the PKK, said the incursion violated their sovereignty.

Since December the Turkish military has also conducted several air strikes in northern Iraq, with the help of US intelligence.

The PKK, which wants autonomy for Kurds in south-eastern Turkey, is branded a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU.

More than 30,000 people are thought to have been killed since the PKK began its armed campaign in 1984.

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