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Turkey Says Launched Air Strike In Northern Iraq

ANKARA (Reuters) -- Turkey's military said it has carried out an air operation inside northern Iraq against Kurdish rebels suspected of taking part in an ambush on a military outpost that killed 15 Turkish soldiers.

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

Twenty soldiers were wounded and two more are still missing but feared dead.

"Our warplanes achieved their mission and came back to base safely," the General Staff said in a statement.

NATO member Turkey has attacked PKK bases in northern Iraq several times over the past 12 months but has confined itself to shelling and air strikes since a brief land offensive in February.

Parliament is likely this week to approve a government request to extend a mandate to launch military operations against the PKK in Iraq as needed. The current mandate expires on October 17.

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