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Erdogan: Turkish aircraft bombed armed Kurds in the mountains of Qandil in northern Iraq

BAGHDAD, The Turkish warplanes bombed a meeting of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the Qandil mountains in Iraq, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, and Ankara believed that leading elements among the militants were wounded.

The Turkish army has stepped up air strikes in northern Iraq targeting PKK bases in Qandil, close to the Iraqi-Iranian border, where Ankara suspects leaders of the militant group there.

The government also said that Turkish forces had deployed at a depth of about 30 km inside northern Iraq in an area not far from Qandil.

In an interview with Channel 7, Erdogan said that the warplanes bombed a meeting point in the Qandil mountains, where PKK leaders are believed to be based. He added that the army would announce the result of air strikes in the coming hours.

"With the latest operations, we have hit a very important gathering point for them," Erdogan said. We have not received the results yet, but they certainly have received a blow. "

Ankara has recently stepped up its threat of a ground offensive in the Qandil mountains. Erdogan said he had discussed the matter with Iranian President Hassan Rowhani and the two had agreed to maintain regional security.

The Qandil mountains are located in northern Iraq near the border with Iran.

Turkey has also begun talks with Iraq over the possible attack, but Erdogan said on Saturday Ankara would wait until the new government was formed in Baghdad after the May elections before the talks were completed.

The attack on the PKK in the Qandil mountains will be the third cross-border operation by Turkey since 2016. The first and second attacks targeted Kurdish militants in northern Syria.

Turkish forces have cleared vast tracts of land along its south-eastern border as part of its operations in Syria.

Source: National Iraqi News Agency