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3 Turkish soldiers killed in northern Iraq

Turkish tanks are parked near the Syrian border at Hassa, in Hatay province on January 24, 2018, as part of the operation "Olive Branch." AFP

Three Turkish soldiers have died in a new offensive against militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, Agence France-Press reported, citing the Turkish Defense Ministry.

Turkey on Wednesday launched an operation called “Claw-Eagle 2” against PKK militants holed up in the northern Iraqi region of Dohuk.

Two Turkish soldiers died and two others were wounded Wednesday in clashes with the “terrorists,” the defense ministry said.

Another soldier was killed on Thursday, said the ministry, without providing casualty figures for the PKK.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the EU, has for years used northern Iraq’s mountainous areas as a springboard for its insurgency against the Turkish state.

The Turkish army regularly conducts cross-border operations and air raids on PKK bases in northern Iraq.

Turkey launched its first Claw-Eagle operation in June.

Last month, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar visited Baghdad and northern Iraq where he said Turkey intended to eliminate PKK attacks in the region to ensure border security and regional peace.

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