Turkey bombs Kurdish targets as massive U.S. bombardment kills 21 al Qaeda men
Turkish artillery shelled northern Iraq on Friday morning, but there were no immediate reports of any casualties or material damage, a Kurdish government official said. Jabbar Yawar, spokesman for the Peshmerga security forces of northern Iraq, said Turkish forces had shelled two areas in Dahuk province for two hours. Earlier, Iraqi Kurdish television said the Turkish military had bombed northern Iraq.
According to Reuters, a senior Iraqi border guards officer said there were no casualties in the shelling, which took place between 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) and 9 a.m. (0600 GMT). It was the first reported cross-border action since a bomb attack in the Turkish town of Diyarbakir on Jan. 3, which killed six people.
Meanwhile, a massive US air blitz on Al-Qaeda targets south of Baghdad killed a local leader of the jihadi network and at least 20 other activists, the head of an anti-Qaeda front said on Friday. "Our information confirmed that Walid Khudair, also known as al-Jahash, leader of Al-Qaeda in the southern belts of Baghdad was killed," said Mustaf al-Jabouri, leader of the anti-Qaeda "Awakening" group in the targeted village of Arab Jabour.
"Twenty other terrorists were also killed," Sheikh Jabouri, a tribal leader, told AFP. The US military could not confirm the death toll from Thursday's air bombardments, which saw 21,500 kilograms of explosives dropped on 47 targets in a 10-minute blitz. "We have had no reports of any civilians killed," a US military commander Colonel Terry Ferrell told a Baghdad press conference.
Asked if any Al-Qaeda fighters were killed, he said, "I don't have the assessment at this time."
He said the raid, which involved two B-1 bombers and four F-16 fighter-bombers, had targeted roadside bombs and arms caches rather than people.