Five killed in Iraq drone attack blamed on Turkey
Drone strikes targeting Kurdish rebels killed at least five people, including two civilians, in northern Iraq on Saturday, local officials and the rebels said, blaming Turkey for the attack.
Turkey routinely 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 of Chamchamal district, west of the city of Sulaimaniyah, the officials said.
“Two Turkish drones struck twice,” said Heimin Bahjat, mayor of the village of Agjalar. “The second strike hit a pick-up truck, killing five people, including two civilians.”
A medical source confirmed that the bodies of two civilians had been brought to Chamchamal hospital.
A PKK spokesman said: “Three… guerrillas were targeted by the Turkish armed drones and heavily wounded. When the civilians ran to help them and take them to hospital, they were also targeted by the drones. Two civilians lost their lives, along with the three wounded guerrillas.”
There was no immediate reaction from Turkey.
Repeated Turkish operations targeting Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq have tested relations between Baghdad and Ankara, key trade partners.
They have also complicated ties with authorities in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region who have an uneasy relationship with the PKK.
In December, three Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack in northern Iraq which Ankara blamed on the PKK.
Last August, at least three people died in a Turkish air strike on a clinic in northwestern Iraq, where a wounded PKK official was being treated.