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Iraqi Parliament Condemns Turkish Air Strikes in Northern Iraq


Iraq's parliament has condemned Turkish air strikes on a Kurdish region in northern Iraq as a major violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

Iraqi lawmakers issued the condemnation Monday in response to Sunday's raids by Turkish warplanes in Iraq's Qandil mountains.

Turkey says the attacks were aimed only at rebel bases of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. But Iraqi Kurdish officials say several villages sustained heavy damage and at least one civilian was killed. The rebels say they lost five of their fighters.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says it appears the Turkish air strikes were based on misinformation because civilians were hurt. He also said Ankara should coordinate any attacks on rebels inside Iraq with the Baghdad government.

U.S. officials acknowledged receiving advance warning from Turkey about Sunday's bombing raids, but they declined to say whether they authorized them.

Deputy State Department Spokesman Tom Casey said the United States considers the PKK a terrorist organization that must be "put out of business." At the same time, he said it is important that any actions taken be coordinated between Turkey and Iraq.

Turkish military chief General Yasar Buyukanit says the U.S. gave tacit approval to the raids by opening northern Iraq's airspace to Turkish aircraft.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared Sunday's air strikes a success and said his government will continue to battle the PKK both inside and outside Turkey.

Meanwhile, the PKK has threatened to retaliate, according to the French news agency AFP, citing the rebel Firat news agency. The reports say the PKK maintains that its people have every right to defend themselves.

The PKK has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984. More than 30,000 people have died in the conflict.

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