Turkish soldier killed in PKK operation in northern Iraq

A Turkish soldier was killed and six wounded during an operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq as part of an ongoing military operation on Friday, Turkey’s defense ministry announced.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) last week launched the second stage of a campaign dubbed Operation Claw in northern Iraq following the first one that started on May 27 in Iraq’s Hakurk region.

The cross-border operation targets the PKK with artillery and operations by commando brigades as well as airstrikes by the Turkish Air Forces, aiming to destroy shelters and caves used by the group and “neutralize” its members, a term commonly used by the Turkish authorities to refer to killed, wounded or captured PKK members.

On Monday, the ministry said a total of 71 PKK militants had been “neutralized” since the beginning of the operation on May 27.

According to the ministry’s Friday report, two PKK members were killed in a separate operation by airstrikes in northern Iraq.

On Friday, in a separate operation in Bitlis province, an improvised explosive device allegedly planted by the PKK went off, reportedly killing a Turkish gendarmerie major, Zafer Akkus.

The ministry vowed in a statement that “operations against terrorist organizations will continue with determination.”

PKK, designated a terrorist group by Ankara, has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule against the Turkish state in predominantly Kurdish areas of south-eastern Turkey since the early 1980s.

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