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 Kurdish PKK rebels deny reports that four leaders killed in Iraqi Kurdistan

 Source : AFP
  Kurd Net does not take credit for and is not responsible for the content of news information on this page

 


Kurdish PKK rebels deny reports that four leaders killed in Iraqi Kurdistan  29.7.2007 

 




July 29, 2007

Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan region (Iraq), -- The separatist Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) on Saturday denied Turkish reports that four of its leaders had been killed in a suicide attack in a camp in Kurdistan (northern Iraq).

According to the reports, four rebels were killed in what newspapers said appeared to have been a settling of scores at a rear base of the PKK in the Qandil mountains, close to Iraq's border with Iran and Turkey.

A member of the PKK was said to have set off a belt packed with explosives during a meeting of PKK cadres, killing four of them and himself.

But a PKK spokesman denied there had been any attack, and accused the Turkish media of regularly publishing false reports about his movement, which is regarded as a terrorist group by much of the international community.

"The news that circulated on a number of media outlets in Turkey had no factual basis. There was no explosion and no one was wounded," Abdelrahman Chadarchi told AFP.

The PKK has been fighting for self-rule in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984 in a conflict that has claimed more than 37,000 lives.

Rebels have stepped up their attacks this year, while Ankara has massed troops on the border with Iraq, fuelling speculation it will launch a cross-border operation.

Ankara says it has grown weary of rebels enjoying a safe haven in northern Iraq, where they obtain weapons and explosives to launch attacks against Turkish targets across the border.

It has also accused the northern Iraqi Kurds of turning a blind eye to PKK presence on their territory and even supporting them.

Washington is opposed to any Turkish military action, fearing this could destabilise the relatively peaceful region and further strain tense relations between Ankara and the Iraqi Kurds, staunch US allies.

The Turkish dailies Hurriyet and Sabah said Riza Altun, one of the founders of the PKK and its chief financial operator, was one of those present at the time of the alleged explosion and said his fate was not known.

Altun was placed under investigation in France in February for suspected terrorist activities and barred from leaving the Paris region.

He managed nevertheless to slip out the country to Austria where authorities allowed him to go on to northern Iraq despite an international warrant being out for his arrest.

Last week Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul lashed out at Austria for failing to extradite Altun, describing it as "a very big mistake" and saying it "erodes the foundations of the international struggle against terrorism."

Copyright , respective author or news agency, AFP        

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