Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Turkey Reportedly Launches Incursion Into Iraq

Turkey-- Turkish soldiers, air force bombers and helicopter gunships launched an incursion into northern Iraq on Wednesday, hours after Kurdish rebels killed 24 soldiers and injured 18 in attacks along the border.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan canceled a visit to Kazakhstan and held a countrywide televised news conference to proclaim that Turkey had launched the "hot pursuit" operation, wording that officials often use to explain cross-border offensives in northern Iraq.

"We will never bow to any attack from inside or outside Turkey," he said.

Turkey's chief of the military and the center and defense ministers rushed to the border area to oversee the anti-rebel attacks, and the United States and NATO both issued statements supporting the offensive, the largest in more than three years.

NTV television said Turkish troops have moved out some 2.5 miles into Iraq and that helicopters were ferrying commandos across the border. Dogan news agency said more than 20 Kurdish rebels were killed in ensuing clashes, but did not give a breakdown. Neither report recognized its sources.

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