ANKARA, Turkey, (AP) – Warplanes and artillery units hit Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq in response to a rebel raid on a military outpost inside Turkey, the military said Sunday.
Targets in Saturday’s raids included an area just across the border where rebels had allegedly gathered after attacking the military station in Hakkari province, near the Iraq border, the military said in a statement posted on its Web site.
Six soldiers and 19 rebels were killed in the rebel attack and military airstrikes that followed, according to the military. The rebels denied suffering any losses.
The military said in the statement that artillery units and attack aircraft “intensely and effectively” struck rebel targets in the Avasin-Basyan area in northern Iraq.
“All targets have been hit with accuracy and terrorists in the targeted facilities have been rendered ineffective,” the military statement said. “Studies and evaluations are under way to determine final results.”
The military said its forces were careful to avoid affecting civilians or local Iraqi Kurdish forces in the attack.
“The Turkish Armed Forces will continue its struggle against terrorism with increasing power and determination,” the military said. “Any heinous act against the Turkish Republic will be responded to immediately and heavily.”
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, has been fighting for self-rule in Turkey’s southeast since 1984. Tens of thousands of people have died since then.
The PKK maintains bases in the north of neighboring Iraq that serve as a launch pad for attacks on targets inside Turkey.
Turkey has launched several aerial attacks and one major ground operation against rebel bases across the border with Iraq this year.