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Turkish Jets Raid Kurdish Rebel Installations in Iraq

March 05, 1987|From Times Wire Services

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish warplanes Wednesday bombed Kurdish rebel camps and ammunition depots in northwestern Iraq in retaliation for recent rebel attacks on civilians.

The Turkish military said in a statement that 30 jets bombed nine targets from 8 to 8:30 a.m. after reconnaissance flights over the area at daybreak. It said all aircraft returned safely to base.

"All the hide-outs, camps and ammunition depots were destroyed," the statement said.

The Hurriyet news agency reported from the Turkish side of the border that at least 100 rebels were killed and hundreds were wounded in the air strikes. However, there was no immediate official report of casualties.

Damage Report Due

The military said an official damage and casualty report will be issued after authorities study aerial photographs taken during and after the bombing.

Government spokesman Hasan Celal Guzel told reporters here that the government decided on the bombing a week ago and that Iraq was notified.

Under a 1984 agreement, Turkey and Iraq allow each other to pursue Kurdish rebels six miles into each other's territory. Iraq has little control over its area near the Turkish border because of preoccupation with its 6 1/2-year-old war against Iran. Iraq and Turkey share a 200-mile-long border.

Guzel said he could not say how far into Iraq the planes flew in Wednesday's raid, but domestic news agencies said the bombing was visible from villages on the Turkish side of the border

Tied to Marxist Group

Most of the guerrillas are members of the Kurdish Labor Party, a Marxist-Leninist underground organization with headquarters in Syria.

Intelligence sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, estimate the group's strength at a few thousand members. The sources say Syria supplies the group with weapons and provides their leaders with a haven.

The Kurdish rebels, who want to establish an independent Marxist state in eastern Turkey, have been blamed for killing 34 civilians in southeastern Turkey in the past month. Ten days ago, rebels raided a border village and killed 14 peasants, most of them women and children.

Wednesday's incursion was the third into Iraq that Turkey has acknowledged. In May, 1983, ground forces crossed the border in search of rebels. Last August, Turkish warplanes attacked Iraq after 12 Turkish soldiers were killed in an ambush.

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