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Iraq, Turkey Sign Agreement to Combat Kurdish Rebels

Turkey and Iraq have signed an anti-terrorism agreement aimed at cracking down on Kurdish rebels who have been launching attacks inside Turkey from bases in northern Iraq.

But the two sides failed to agree on a provision that would allow Turkey to send troops across the border to pursue the rebels.

Turkey's Interior Minister Besir Atalay and his Iraqi counterpart, Jawad al-Bolani, signed the agreement Friday in a ceremony broadcast live on television.

Under the deal, the two countries pledged to take all necessary measures to combat Kurdish guerrillas and other militant groups.

Atalay said the two sides will continue negotiations aimed at strengthening cooperation in "border areas."

Also Friday, Turkish authorities said government troops have killed 20 rebels in operations over the past 15 days in Sirnak province, bordering Iraq.

Thursday, Turkish authorities said a bomb laid by Kurdish separatists killed two Turkish soldiers near the southeastern city of Bitlis.

PKK rebels have been fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984. More than 30,000 people have been killed. Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist group.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.