Turkey said it had targeted 500 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq

ANKARA  Turkish forces have targeted 500 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

Turkish warplanes have targeted PKK targets in different parts of northern Iraq in two separate attacks on Sunday and Tuesday, Ankara said in response to an increase in terrorist attacks on Turkish military targets.

Ankara on Tuesday launched a "claw-tiger operation" in northern Iraq's Haftanin region.

Turkey's F-16 jets, drones and howitzer have hit and destroyed more than 500 PKK targets in 36 hours, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Defense Minister Halsey Akar said in a statement, "The Pa-Tiger operation is going very well. God is working with the same integrity and determination. We will carry out the operation successfully."

Turkey regularly attacks PKK terrorists, mainly in the Kurdish southeastern and northern Iraq. It has warned in recent years that a ground attack against PKK targets in Iraq's Kandil Mountains is likely.

The United Arab Emirates said Wednesday that Turkish and Iranian military intervention in Iraq violates Iraqi sovereignty. The UAE and Ankara have caused tensions in the relationship, including the Libyan crisis, where both countries are opposed.

PKK, designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have died in the conflict, centered in southeastern Turkey.

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