Turkey: 115 Kurdish rebels killed in offensive
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's security forces have killed as many as 115 Kurdish rebels during a major security offensive over the past two weeks, the country's interior minister said Sunday.
Idris Naim Sahin said the rebels were killed in an airpower backed offensive near the town of Semdinli, in Hakkari province which sits on the border with Iraq. He said the offensive began on July 23.
Sahin provided few other details on the ongoing operation but said the security forces were trying to block the rebels' escape routes into northern Iraq.
Private NTV television said earlier that as many as 2,000 troops were taking part in the offensive and that public access to some roads in the area were blocked.
Earlier Sunday, rebels fired on military posts in Hakkari province that borders Iraq, including the paramilitary station near the village of Gecimli, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the frontier, according to a statement from the Hakkari governor's office.
Gov. Orhan Alimoglu said the attack near Gecimli triggered clashes that claimed the lives of 22 rebels, soldiers and village guards. At least 15 soldiers, another village guard and five civilians were also injured in the attack. There were no reports of any casualties in the attacks on the other posts.
The attack comes some six weeks after a similar raid on a military unit, also in Hakkari province, killed 18 rebels and eight soldiers, prompting Turkey's military to send warplanes and attack helicopters to hit Kurdish rebel targets inside Iraq.