55 PKK militants killed over last two days across Turkey
Uğur Ergan - ANKARA
A total of 55 PKK militants were killed by security forces over the last two days during counter-terror operations in eastern and southeastern Turkey, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
The operations, backed by drones, were reportedly conducted in the eastern province of Tunceli, Şırnak, Diyarbakır and Hakkari.
Four rocket launchers and 10 hand grenades were also seized during the same operation.
AT-4 rocket launchers, which were given by the U.S. to militants linked to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, were used by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in a deadly clashes carried out against Turkish security forces in the southeastern province of Hakkari on Nov. 2.
Six soldiers and two village guards were killed in the clashes and two soldiers were injured.
A clash erupted in the Şemdinli district of Hakkari after security forces spotted a group of PKK militants allegedly preparing to launch an attack.
On Nov. 3 daily Hürriyet revealed that the militants used a Sweden-based AT-4 rocket launcher, which was provided by the U.S. for PYD militants as part of cooperation in the ongoing anti-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) campaign in northern Syria.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had reportedly shown pictures of AT-4s to warn U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis during the latter’s visit to Ankara on Aug. 23.
The AT-4s are known to be as effective as the Milan anti-tank missiles.
Meanwhile, a police officer was killed and nine others were injured in a raid on a PKK safe house in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Nov. 3, the provincial governor’s office said.
Police targeted a building in the Kayapınar district when militants opened fire, according to a statement from the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office.
The 10 injured officers were rushed to hospital but one succumbed to his wounds, the statement added.
A PKK militant was also killed during the operation, which was backed by air support.
Moreover, at least eight PKK militants were killed in airstrikes carried out by the Turkish Air Force in northern Iraq, the military said on Nov. 3.
The Turkish General Staff said the operation was conducted in Avaşin-Basyan region on Nov. 2.
The militants were preparing for attacks on military bases and patrol stations along the Turkish-Iraqi borderline, it added.
It also said the security forces destroyed 11 handmade explosives in controlled explosions in the Zap re-gion of northern Iraq.
The Turkish military also revealed that a total of 66 PKK militants, four of whom are in a wanted terror list of the Interior Ministry, were killed between Oct. 26 and Nov. 2.
It said the counter-terrorism operations were also carried out in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern prov-inces of Hakkari, Tunceli, Siirt, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Ardahan and Kars.
Four out of nine killed in Tunceli were sought with a gray arrest warrant.
Additionally, a total of 10,764 people were held in the same period for their attempts to enter Turkey through illegal means, the statement added.