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Turkish jets bomb northern Iraq, kill PKK militants

Turkish warplanes have bombed northern Iraq in the latest attack inside the Arab country without coordination with the government in Baghdad.

The Turkish military said the warplanes struck seven targets in the Avasin-Basyan region of northern Iraq, and killed 13 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Sunday.

Those killed were believed to be preparing for an attack against Turkey, the military said in a statement.

In a separate airstrike in Turkey’s southeastern province of Van late on Saturday, the military said warplanes had killed another 10 PKK militants.

PKK militants have been waging a bloody campaign in southeastern Turkey for decades, which has left more than 40,000 people dead.

Turkey regularly bombs the mountainous border area between Iraq and Turkey where PKK militants are based. Ankara has also deployed troops into the Iraqi soil, triggering a diplomatic crisis with Baghdad which brought them to the brink of a war at one point.

The troops are based in a town near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which is currently the focus of a massive operation to recapture it from Daesh terrorists.

Baghdad has repeatedly called on Ankara to withdraw its forces, describing the military presence as a violation of its sovereignty, and warned that the troops stood to complicate the Mosul battle.