By Sarp Ozer
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey has neutralized 41 terrorists as part of Operation Claw-Tiger in northern Iraq and seized large number of weapons and ammunition, said the defense minister on Monday.
"All our troops burst on the pre-determined areas with attacking air operations. They are working day and night, and the efforts are ongoing to take these regions under control," Hulusi Akar said.
His remarks came during a weekly meeting of chief of general staff, commanders of air, land and naval forces via a video link. The commander of Turkish Task Force in Afghanistan and the head of military representative of Turkey in NATO headquarters were also in attendance of the meeting.
"We have achieved notable successes with our efforts so far. 41 terrorists have been neutralized, a large number of weapons, ammunition, tools, and life-sustaining materials belonging to the terrorists have been seized," Akar added.
He also said that at least 81 terrorist hideouts in northern Iraq were demolished by Turkish air forces in the Operation Claw-Eagle on June 15.
"Our targets are only terrorists, we are respecting the territorial integrity of our neighbor Iraq," he added.
He stressed that Turkish forces are quite careful to not harm civilians as well as historical and religious buildings.
Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle were launched earlier this month to ensure the safety of Turkish people and borders by neutralizing the threat of PKK and other terrorist groups, who often use northern Iraq to plan cross-border attacks.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and EU — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.