ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkish warplanes and artillery bombed and killed a large group of Kurdish rebels as they tried to cross the rugged mountains into Turkey from northern Iraq, the military said Friday.
Turkish surveillance teams spotted the rebel group and called in the attack late Thursday that killed most of the group’s members along the border, said military spokesman Gen. Metin Gurak. But rebel group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, said its fighters had not tried to cross the border, did not have a presence in the area and had not suffered any casualties.
“There are no casualties among PKK members who did not try to cross the borders because our operations are conducted by members based inside Turkey,” Ahmed Deniz, a PKK spokesman, said Friday.
Gurak, who did not give an exact location for the attack or an estimate of the numbers killed, declined to answer reporters’ questions. It was not possible to independently verify the statements.
The rebels often stage hit-and-run attacks from bases in northern Iraq. The Turkish military offensive was the latest in a series of attacks in response to a guerrilla heavy weapons attack last week that killed 17 soldiers. The military said it was launched from Iraqi soil.