Turkey bombs PKK targets as Iran ready to help Iraq in ending clashes
Turkish warplanes launched intensive bombing raids on Kurdish targets in northern Iraq overnight but there were no reports of any casualties, a Kurdish spokesman said on Friday.
The air strikes started at 11.30 p.m. and lasted for three hours, targeting bases belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an off-shoot of the PKK fighting against Iran. "There has been heavy bombing and many Turkish planes were involved. So far, we have no word of any casualties," PKK spokesman Ahmed Danees told Reuters.
Turkish state news agency Anatolia had earlier reported that air strikes started just before midnight and continued into Friday. Military sources told Reuters that at least 30 planes were involved in the raids, which they said targeted senior PKK members in Iraq's remote Qandil mountains.
Meanwhile, Iran said it aims to help end fighting in Iraq by talking to an Iraqi delegation visiting Tehran, the official IRNA news agency reported. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has sent the delegation to tell Iranian officials to stop backing Shi'ite militias, Iraqi officials said. "Iranian officials will be holding talks with the delegation with a view to helping resolve the differences and clashes in Iraq," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini was quoted late on Thursday as saying.
"Tehran has generally emphasised stability and security in Iraq and the invitation to the Iraqi delegation has been for this goal, and Iran's past measures have been to bring stability and security in Iraq," he said.
The delegation from Maliki's ruling United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) left for Tehran on Wednesday.