Turkey says it has ‘neutralized’ 43 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq

Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar speaks with an officer as Turkish army's top commanders stand behind at Turkey-Iraq border near Hakkari, Wednesday, June 5, 2019. (AP)
Updated 08 June 2019
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Turkey says it has ‘neutralized’ 43 Kurdish militants in northern Iraq

  • The Turkish military launched what it dubbed “Operation Claw” in northern Iraq’s Hakurk region, on May 27 with artillery and air strikes followed by operations by commando brigades
  • The PKK militant group is based in northern Iraq, notably in the Qandil region to the south of Hakurk

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday a total of 43 members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had been “neutralized” so far as part of an operation Ankara launched in northern Iraq 13 days ago.
The Turkish military launched what it dubbed “Operation Claw” in northern Iraq’s Hakurk region, on May 27 with artillery and air strikes followed by operations by commando brigades.
The PKK militant group is based in northern Iraq, notably in the Qandil region to the south of Hakurk. Ankara said the operation aimed to destroy shelters and caves used by the PKK and “neutralize” its members — a term it commonly uses to refer to deaths, but also to those wounded or captured.
“43 PKK terrorists have been neutralized as part of Operation Claw, which has continued successfully for 13 days in the Hakurk region of northern Iraq,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
It said 53 mines and improvised explosive devices had been destroyed and 74 caves and shelters used by the PKK were made unusable, adding that it had also seized weapons and ammunition belonging to the militants.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said the operation would continue in the region until “the last terrorist is neutralized.”
The PKK insurgency in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey began in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict. It is designated a terrorist group by Ankara, the European Union and United States.
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the third largest in parliament, has said such operations created crises and that tens of similar operations in the past had not created a solution.
Separately, two PKK members, one of whom was on Turkey’s wanted list, were “neutralized” in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakir province, the Interior Ministry said.
Another PKK member was arrested in Diyarbakir at a traffic checkpoint, the local gendarmarie said.


Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

Updated 18 July 2019
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Iranian official in surprise visit to Lebanon

  • Some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security, Abdollahian says

BEIRUT: “Lebanon must be kept out of all regional crises,” said Iran’s Shoura Council assistant speaker for international affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, during a surprise visit to Beirut on Wednesday.

“We say at the top of our voice that Iran and its allies will not allow the Zionist entity and the US to damage the region’s security.”

Following his meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Abdollahian said that Tehran “is convinced that the security of Lebanon is the security of the region and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Abdollahian added that “some of the threats made by the Zionist enemy are not in favor of the region’s security.”

He described his talks with Berri as “good and constructive.”

“We will not allow Israel, US to interfere with regional security.”

Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s Shoura Council official

Abdollahian said: “We have come today to reaffirm that Iran fully supports the people, army, resistance and government of Lebanon, and we look forward to developing relations between our two countries until they reach the highest levels.”

He said he believes that the statements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are for “domestic consumption,” accusing him of “making some moves in the region that are not in his favor.”

Netanyahu responded to a message from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday by threatening Hezbollah during Israel’s Cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu said: “Let me be clear that if Hezbollah dares to commit an act of stupidity and attack Israel, we will deal a crushing military blow on Lebanon. But unlike Nasrallah, I do not intend to detail our plans. It would be enough to recall that, for years, Nasrallah dug terror tunnels, and we demolished them within a few days.”