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Iraqi Kurd Soldier Killed by PKK Rebels: Mayor

An Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighter was killed Tuesday in an attack by Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a local mayor said.

“A peshmerga was killed by PKK fire, as peshmerga and Iraqi border guards patrolled the Darkar area,” on the border with Turkey, local mayor Adib Jaafar told AFP.

The killing comes after five Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters were killed on Saturday in a PKK ambush in northern Iraq, which the rebels said was because they had “refused entry of the peshmerga” into an area under their control.

The PKK’s pan-Kurdish agenda — for a homeland straddling Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran — has often put it at odds with Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish government, which has sought to maintain good relations with Ankara.

It comes after Turkey launched an offensive in April — by air and sometimes land — targeting Iraq rear-bases of the PKK, which it considers a “terrorist” organization.

On Saturday, Turkish drones bombed a camp housing Turkish Kurdish refugees, killing two civilians and a PKK commander.

Ali Tatar, the governor of Dohuk province, where the peshmerga died, called their killing a “terrorist act.”

But speaking at the same press conference, Mohammed Reda al-Haydar, the head of the defense committee of the federal parliament in Baghdad, condemned Turkey’s offensive, calling it a “violation of Iraq’s sovereignty” and warning of “Iraq’s right to respond.”

“These problems between Turkey and the PKK ought to be settled on Turkish soil not ours,” he said.

Turkish troops have maintained a network of bases in northern Iraq since the mid-1990s on the basis of security agreements struck with Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The PKK has waged a rebellion in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey since 1984 that has claimed more than 40,000 lives.

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