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article imageTurkish airstrikes kill 35 Kurdish smugglers

By Katerina Nikolas     Dec 29, 2011 in World
Thirty-five Kurdish smugglers were killed on Wednesday night by Turkish warplanes after information was received that members of the PKK were planning an attack.
A group of 35 Kurdish smugglers, mistaken for militant terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), were killed by a Turkish airstrike on Wednesday night. The attack occurred close to the village of Uludere in south-eastern Turkey, close to the border with Iraq. Security sources have said that the victims were from the Turkish side of the border.
Press TV reported that the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) confirmed that the victims were among a smuggling party of 40 people, aged between 16 and 20. They were smuggling gas and sugar into Turkey from Iraq, and diesel was loaded onto mules. All of the corpses were burned when the drums of diesel exploded.
The Turkish government has not commented on the incident yet but a Turkish security official said "There were rumours that the PKK would cross through this region. Images were recorded of a crowd crossing last night, hence an operation was carried out. We could not have known whether these people were (PKK) group members or smugglers." (The Telegraph)
The BBC cites a security official saying the attack was launched in an unpopulated area of northern Iraq. A survivor said the group was returning to Turkey from Iraq when the attack took place. The incident will exacerbate existing tensions between Turkey and its Kurdish population.
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