Six Turkish soldiers were killed and one was injured in northern Iraq when outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants opened fire, the Turkish Defense Ministry announced has announced.
The ministry said the incident took place on Wednesday in an area where Turkish forces are deployed as part of Operation Claw-Lock.
Operation Claw-Lock, an air and ground offensive that targets hideouts of the PKK in the Metina region of Iraq, was launched in April 2022.
The PKK, which has been waging a bloody campaign in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984, is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.
Two PKK militants killed in drone strikes
Meanwhile, Turkish drone strikes on Wednesday killed two PKK militants in northern Iraq, Agence France-Presse reported, citing officials in the autonomous Kurdistan region.
The first strike hit a PKK car near the village of Jalala in the province of Sulaimaniyah, killing “a PKK intelligence official” and wounding two members of the group, Iraqi Kurdistan’s counterterrorism services said.
Later, another car carrying PKK fighters was also hit in a “Turkish drone” strike near the village of Qalaa, also killing one PKK member and wounding two others, they added.
The Turkish armed forces rarely comment on attacks carried out in Iraq.
Wednesday’s strikes followed one on Sunday, near Iraqi Kurdistan’s second city of Sulaimaniyah, which killed a PKK official, Iraqi Kurdistan’s counterterrorism services said.
Both the Iraqi federal authorities and the Kurdistan regional government have been accused of tolerating Turkey’s military activities to preserve their close economic ties.
But officials both in Baghdad and Arbil, where the Kurdish authorities are based, have repeatedly denounced Turkish military activity they say violates Iraqi sovereignty.