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Kurdish Rebels Dispute Turkish Report of Heavy Rebel Casualties


Kurdish rebels are disputing a Turkish military report that the rebels suffered heavy casualties in Turkey's most recent air strikes on northern Iraq.

Turkish authorities said Saturday that their warplanes' latest cross-border attacks into northern Iraq have killed more than 150 Kurdish rebels.

Turkish military officials say the bombing raids are part of their ongoing operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

However, PKK sources say Turkey's bombs killed only six rebels, and that those Kurdish fighters were members of a faction that targets Iran, not Turkey.

Independent confirmation of casualty tolls in the area near Iraq's border with Turkey is seldom possible.

Turkey charges that the PKK uses Iraqi territory as its base for launching deadly raids into southeastern Turkey, and authorities in Ankara have demanded that Iraq's government crack down on the rebels.

On Thursday, senior Turkish policy adviser Ahmet Davutoglu discussed the issue in Baghdad with the prime minister of northern Iraq's Kurdish region, Nechirvan Barzani.

It was the first direct high-level meeting between Turkey and northern Iraq's Kurdish regional government, and reports say the two sides took up many political, security and economic issues.

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

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