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Turkish warplanes hit PKK targets in northern Iraq

ANKARA, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Turkish warplanes bombed targets of the banned Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq on Saturday, said a Turkish military statement.

Four F-16 and six F-4 2020 fighter jets struck the PKK targets in Sinath-Haftanin and Metina regions in northern Iraq during the Turkish military operation against the PKK on early Saturday, said the statement issued by the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces.

Another two F-16 fighter jets bombed the PKK targets in Metina region in northern Iraq on Saturday morning, according to the statement.

All 12 warplanes safely returned to the bases in Turkey after hitting the PKK targets in in northern Iraq, said the statement.

The air raids were part of an escalated campaign against PKK posts in northern Iraq following a suicide car bombing on March 13 that killed 37 people in the capital city of Ankara.

The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), a Kurdish militant group linked to the PKK, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Feb. 17, a suicide car bomb targeted military shuttles in Ankara, killing at least 29 people and injuring 81 others. TAK also claimed responsibility for that attack.

Since a two-year cease-fire between the government and the PKK disintegrated last July, Turkish security forces have launched a major campaign against the PKK in southeast Turkey, leaving over 260 members of Turkey's security forces and thousands of PKK members dead.

The PKK, waging its separatist war against Turkey since 1984, is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

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