Nine PKK militants ‘neutralised’ in northern Iraq – Defence Ministry

Turkish special forces ‘neutralised’ nine Kurdish militants as part of Operation Claw-Tiger in northern Iraq, Turkey’s Defence Ministry said on Saturday.

“Our commandos, who entered every cave and looked under every stone, found 9 more PKK terrorists hidden in the region (Haftanin) and neutralised them,” the ministry said in a statement on Twitter.

Turkish authorities use the term "neutralised" to imply the people in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

Turkey launched Operation Claw-Tiger on June 17, targeting the PKK in various regions of northern Iraq in response to an increase in attacks against Turkish military forces.

The PKK, designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and European Union, has been fighting an insurgency against the Turkish state for four decades.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, including 7,918 members of Turkey’s security forces, 5,557 civilians and 22,101 PKK members between 1981 and 2012, according to a report by Turkish parliament.

Turkey regularly targets PKK in operations in northern Iraq and on home soil.