Turkish warplanes bombed 20 suspected Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq in a third day of cross-border strikes, the military said Saturday.
Friday’s aerial offensive was backed with 85 rounds of artillery fire, according to a statement posted on the military headquarters’ website.
Turkey launched its latest cross-border offensive on Wednesday, hours after eight soldiers and a village guard were killed in an ambush near the Iraqi border. It came on the heels of escalated attacks by the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, that have killed some 40 soldiers since July.
The military released footage that it claimed showed attacks on positions - apparently pinpointed with the help of intelligence gathered by unmanned drones - that included a bridge, suspected rebel shelters and caves used as ammunition depots on Mount Qandil on the Iraqi-Iranian border and in the Hakurk area in northeastern Iraq.
The rebels have long used northern Iraq as a springboard for hit-and-run attacks on Turkish targets in their campaign for autonomy in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated southeast.
Turkey has carried out a number of cross-border air raids and ground incursions over the years but has failed to stop rebel infiltration through the mountainous border.
The military statement said all planes returned to their base safely and that work was under way to assess the damage and losses caused.
The PKK however, said Friday areas hit by the Turkish jets were abandoned bases and that the guerrilla group had suffered no loss.
The Kurdish Firat news agency - which is close to the rebels - reported Saturday that the Turkish assaults on Thursday and Friday damaged homes and land in the villages of Pistesan, Girneka and Kortek.
The group is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict since 1984.