Six dead in drone strikes in Iraq blamed on Turkey

Drone strikes targeting Kurdish rebels killed at least six people, including three civilians, in northern Iraq on Saturday, local officials and rebels said, blaming Turkey for the attack.

Turkey regularly carries out attacks in northern Iraq, where the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has bases and training camps.

Saturday’s drone strikes targeted mountainous areas in Chamchamal district, west of the city of Sulaimaniyah, officials said.

There was no immediate comment from the Turkish authorities.

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“Two Turkish drones hit twice,” said Heimin Bahjat, mayor of Agjalar village. “The second strike hit a van, killing five people, including two civilians.”

A medical source confirmed that the bodies of two civilians had been taken to Chamchamal hospital.

A PKK spokesman said: “Three… guerrillas were targeted by Turkish armed drones and seriously injured. When the civilians ran to help them and take them to the hospital, they were also targeted by the drones. Two civilians lost their lives, as well as the three wounded guerrillas.

Later in the day, another suspected Turkish drone struck a vehicle in Makhmur refugee camp, killing one resident, camp director Nechirvan Mahmoud told AFP.

The camp, home to Kurdish refugees who fled Turkey in the 1990s, has been the target of repeated attacks by the Turkish military, which says it has become a recruitment ground for the PKK.

Repeated Turkish operations targeting Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq have tested relations between Baghdad and Ankara, key trading partners.

They also have complicated ties with the authorities of the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq which have difficult relations with the PKK.

In December, three Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack in northern Iraq that Ankara blamed on the PKK.

Last August, at least three people died in a Turkish airstrike on a clinic in northwestern Iraq, where an injured PKK official was being treated.

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