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World: Turkish Planes Bomb Rebels Near Iraq's Border With Iran

Diyarbakir, Turkey; 1 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - The semi-official Turkish Anatolia news agency reports that Turkish jets bombed fleeing Kurdish guerrillas near Iraq's mountainous border with Iran today in a cross-border drive against the separatist rebels.

The report said warplanes bombed the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as Turkish troops pursued them eastwards after capturing the PKK's main base at Zab yesterday. Turkish forces, backed by air power, attacked three other camps near the Turkish border in an effort to dislodge the guerrillas.

About 15,000 Turkish troops supported by Kurdish militia forces entered Iraq last week in a push that has angered Baghdad, which lost control of northern Iraq to Iraqi Kurdish groups after the 1991 Gulf War. Planes have raided PKK targets all week.

The PKK uses bases in northern Iraq in its fight for self-rule in neighboring Turkey. The PKK has been fighting the Ankara government for an independent Kurdish state in Turkey's southeast since 1984. More than 26,000 people have died in Turkey in the conflict.