Turkish troops enter northern Iraq as Rice holds talks in Kirkuk, Baghdad
The Turkish army sent forces about 1.5 miles into northern Iraq in an overnight operation on Tuesday, Kurdish officials said. A Turkish official said the troops were still in Iraq by midmorning.
The troops crossed into an area near the border with Iran, about 75 miles north of the city of Irbil, said Jabar Yawar, a spokesman for Kurdistan's Peshmerga security forces. Some 300 Turkish troops crossed the border at 3 a.m., said Jamal Abdullah, a spokesman for the regional Kurdistan government. According to the AP, he said the region was a deserted mountainous frontier area.
A Turkish government official confirmed that around 300 Turkish soldiers penetrated into northern Iraq. "They are still there," he said without elaborating.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an unannounced visit to Kirkuk. Rice was meeting members of a civilian-military reconstruction unit based in Kirkuk and provincial politicians. She was to meet Iraq's central leadership later in Baghdad. "It is an important province for the future of Iraq, for a democratic Iraq, an Iraq that can be for all people," she said at the start of the meeting with the provincial leaders.