Senior PKK leader killed in Turkish airstrike

A high-ranking officer of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has been killed in a Turkish cross-border air operation in Sinjar, an area in northern Iraq, Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported on Wednesday.

The operation’s target, İsmail Özden, was reportedly the highest-ranking member in the Sinjar area of the PKK, a militant group that has sought Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since the 1980s and which is classed as a terrorist organisation by a range of countries including Turkey and the United States.

Özden, also known by the code name Mam Zeki Şengali, was the first member of the Turkish Interior Ministry’s “red list” to be killed in a cross-border operation, according to Daily Sabah.

The operation was carried out by the Turkish military in coordination with Turkish intelligence. It was named after Bedirhan Mustafa Karakaya, an 11-month-old baby who was killed in a roadside bomb attack blamed on the PKK in the eastern Turkish province of Hakkari this year.

The PKK maintains a considerable presence in northern Iraq, but has been under pressure from the Turkish military in recent months.