Kurdish rebels say Turkish airstrikes hit N. Iraq

SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq (AP) -- Turkish warplanes bombarded Kurdish rebel territory in northern Iraq, damaging a school and wounding three people, a rebel spokesman said Friday.

The attack began at 10 p.m. Thursday and lasted some two hours, according to Ahmed Deniz, a spokesman for the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

The areas bombed included the Qandil mountain villages of Kutak, Surage and Kozala, and a school was damaged and two civilian houses destroyed, Deniz said.

One rebel and two civilians were wounded in the bombardment, he said.

Turkey has repeatedly sent warplanes to attack suspected rebel positions in northern Iraq but has not commented about the latest report.

Deniz said the rebels had evacuated the bases beforehand after spotting Turkish planes apparently conducting reconnaissance missions earlier this week.

The villages struck were sparsely populated after many residents fled separate attacks from Iran, Deniz said, adding that some villagers had recently returned from their displacement but were uprooted again ahead of Thursday's strikes.

"I thing that they are preparing themselves for an invasion against our sites, but we are fully prepared to defend ourselves," Deniz said.

Last year, the Turkish parliament authorized the military to send troops into northern Iraq to root out Kurdish rebels there. Since then, Turkish war planes have carried out several air strikes against suspected rebel bases in northern Iraq. Troops also launched a cross-border ground operation in February.

Kurdish rebels in Turkey took up arms against the government in 1984 to fight for self-rule in parts of the country's southeast and east. Tens of thousands have been killed in the fighting.