UPDATES WITH NUMBER OF TERRORISTS NEUTRALIZED; REVISES HEADLINE, LEDE
By Erdogan Cagatay Zontur and Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish fighter jets "neutralized" five PKK terrorists in airstrikes on terror targets in northern Iraq, according to an official statement Monday.
The airstrikes in the Avasin region were conducted in coordination with Turkey’s ongoing counter-terror offensive Operation Claw in northern Iraq, said a National Defense Ministry statement.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
The counter-terrorism operations were supported by the Turkish Armed Forces, police, gendarmerie, and the National Intelligence Service (MIT).
PKK terrorists often use northern Iraq to plan cross-border terrorist attacks in Turkey.
On May 27, Turkey launched Operation Claw against the PKK in the Hakurk region of northern Iraq, followed by the operation's second and third phases in July and late August.
Over 400 PKK terrorists have been “neutralized” in northern Iraq over the past four months, according to the ministry.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.