Turkey deploys troops to northern Iraq to fight Kurdish militia: report

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Turkey launched an air and ground offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq on Wednesday, in a move likely to increase friction with the Baghdad government, AFP reported.

The defense ministry said “commandos” moved in supported by drones and helicopters, following a bombardment with rocket launchers and artillery guns that hit more than 150 targets.

It added that the operation, called “Claw-Tiger,” came after a “recent upsurge in attacks on our police stations and military bases” near the Iraqi border.

Turkey carried out airstrikes earlier this week that drew an angry response from Iraq, which labelled them “a violation of sovereignty.”

The Turkish military regularly carries out operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeast Turkey and its rear bases across the border.

The operation on Sunday night carried out raids in the northern Iraqi territories of Kandil, Sinjar and Hakurk.

The PKK, which has fought an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, is designated as a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies.

Tens of thousands have been killed during the violence, which resumed after a two-year ceasefire collapsed in 2015.

PKK bases are not explicitly authorized but are tolerated by an autonomous Kurdish administration in northern Iraq.

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