Kurdish border battles intensify

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The Independent Online
ANKARA (AP) - Iraqi and Turkish Kurds fought each other for a second day on Monday, the battles intensifying after an ultimatum passed for Turkish Kurds to leave northern Iraq.

Serchil Kazzaz, a spokesman for Iraqi Kurds, said 6,000 Iraqi Kurds were fighting up to 3,000 Turkish Kurdish rebels at Baradust, a region where the borders of Iraq, Iran and Turkey converge.

The two groups have been at odds since Turkish jets began retaliatory raids against Turkish Kurds hiding out in Iraqi territory, causing civilian casualties among the Iraqi Kurds. Mr Kazzaz said that the Turkish Kurds began firing an hour before they were supposed to have pulled out of Iraqi territory at 7pm. That deadline had been set by Iraqi Kurds

Earlier, Kamal Fouad, a senior Iraqi Kurdish official, said his forces would move against the Turkish Kurds if they did not leave their bases south of the Turkish border by midnight on Monday.

'We have told (the PKK) several times either to leave the area if they wanted to fight Turkey, or leave their arms and stop their attacks if they wanted to stay,' Mr Fouad said. 'They have defied our calls so many times. But this time, we mean it.'

Safeen Dizayi, another Iraqi Kurdish spokesman in Ankara, said clashes were also in progress at Haftanin, west of Baradust near the Turkish border and at Bazia, further west and north of Barzan. He said that about 10,000 villagers and Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga guerrillas were involved.

BONN - German police have arrested two Lebanese men suspected of killing four Kurdish politicians in a Berlin restaurant last month, the Federal Prosecutor's Office said yesterday, Reuter reports. The Office said in a statement it believed the two, unemployed asylum-seekers, were hired gunmen. Kurdish exiles and Iran's Mujahedin, the country's main opposition group, have accused Iran's secret service of the killings.

(Photograph omitted)

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