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US, Turkey, Iraq Cooperate to Fight PKK

The United States, Turkey and Iraq have agreed to form a joint committee to combat Kurdish separatist rebels using bases in northern Iraq to attack Turkey.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki hosted talks on the issue with Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker in Baghdad Wednesday.

The United States and Iraq consider the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a terrorist group. However, they are concerned Turkey's attacks on the separatist rebels could destabilize northern Iraq.

Turkey has intensified its operations against the rebels since 17 Turkish soldiers were killed in an ambush in southeastern Turkey last month.

Security forces say at least three soldiers and four PKK rebels were killed in separate clashes in eastern Turkey on Wednesday.

The rebels have been fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984. Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict.

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