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Turkey's Army Fires on Kurdish Rebels in Northern Iraq

Turkey's army says it has inflicted heavy losses on a group of between 50 to 60 Kurdish rebels in a military operation in northern Iraq.

The army said on its Web site Saturday that the operation was carried out southeast of the Turkish town of Cukurca, in Hakkari province, on the Turkey-Iraq border. Sources said the army used artillery and air strikes in the operation.

The military said the rebels were detected through intelligence work, and they indicated that operations in the region will continue if necessary.

The U.S. military in Iraq said today it was not aware if Turkish troops crossed the border into northern Iraq.

Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Friday the Turkish government authorized the army to carry out a cross-border operation against rebels from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party.

Turkey has massed tens of thousands of troops along the Iraqi border in preparation for a possible military strike against PKK rebels. Ankara accuses the PKK of using bases in northern Iraq to launch deadly attacks in southeastern Turkey.

Last month, Turkey's parliament approved a resolution giving the government the go-ahead to order a cross-border military operation against PKK militants in Iraq.

The United States and Iraq have urged Turkey not to launch a cross-border incursion into northern Iraq, fearing it could destabilize the relatively peaceful region.

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