Four Turkish soldiers killed in Iraq: ministry

Four Turkish soldiers killed in Iraq: ministry

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Istanbul: The Ministry of Defense said on Monday that four Turkish soldiers were killed in two separate incidents fighting Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.

The ministry said that an improvised explosive device explosion occurred on Sunday in an area where the Turkish army has been operating against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters, killing three soldiers and injuring two.

It said that another soldier was killed in a gun battle with Kurdish fighters near a Turkish military base and one was injured.

The Turkish army often conducts operations on the PKK base in the rugged mountainous areas of northern Iraq.

The group is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and its Western allies.

Turkish troops have maintained a network of bases in Iraq since the mid-1990s under security agreements struck with Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The PKK has waged a rebellion in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey since 1984 that has claimed more than 40,000 lives.

The PKK’s pan-Kurdish agenda — a homeland that spans parts of Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran — often brings it into conflict with Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish government, which seeks to maintain good relations with Ankara.

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