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Turkey Again Hits PKK Targets In Northern Iraq

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
ANKARA (Reuters) -- Turkish warplanes have pounded suspected Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq for a second straight day, stepping up a bombing campaign after the death of 17 Turkish soldiers in a crossborder ambush.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the powerful military have pledged to intensify a campaign to crush the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) after the October 3 attack, the deadliest against the military in a year.

"Warplanes belonging to Turkey's air forces hit 21 targets in northern Iraq in the Avasin Basyan and Bozul mountain regions early in the morning on October 7, 2008," the General Staff said in a statement. "Planes safely came back to base."

There was no indication of whether the raids had caused casualties or what damage had been caused.

NATO member Turkey has attacked PKK bases in northern Iraq several times over the past 12 months, but has staged almost daily raids since October 3.

Several thousand PKK fighters are believed to be based in northern Iraq, from where they stage attacks on mainly military targets in southeast Turkey.

Turkey blames the PKK, considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, for the deaths of more than 40,000 people since it launched its armed campaign for an ethnic Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey in 1984.