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Turkish Warplanes Hit Kurdish Rebel Targets in Iraq

The Turkish military says its warplanes have bombed separatist Kurdish rebel targets inside northern Iraq, the third confirmed cross-border attack in less than a week.

In a statement on its Web site Saturday, the military said the air strike lasted nearly a half-hour, and was followed by shelling from inside the Turkish border. It said the offensive against rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) will continue.

Turkish fighter planes launched the first confirmed air assault this week against PKK rebels last Sunday. Those strikes were followed by a small-scale incursion Tuesday by Turkish troops into northern Iraq.

Today's statement said hundreds of PKK rebels have been killed in the recent operations. The toll could not be independently verified.

An Iraqi Kurdish security spokesman confirmed today's bombings, and said they struck mostly deserted areas along the border with Turkey.

Earlier this week, Turkey's ambassador to Washington, Nabi Sensoy, said U.S. intelligence led to the recent Turkish air strikes into northern Iraq against PKK rebels. Turkey, the United States and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist group.

Ankara accuses the PKK of staging deadly attacks in southeastern Turkey from bases in northern Iraq.

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

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