Above, Turkish soldiers at Mount Bersaya north of the Syrian town of Azaz during their operation “Olive Branch” against the Kurdish People`s Protection Units militia. Turkey also launched air strikes in northern Iraq against Kurdish militants, which Ankara claimed were planning na attack. (AFP)
Turkish warplanes carried out airstrikes on PKK positions in northern Iraq in accordance with the UN's right to self-defence, the Turkish Defence Ministry has announced.
Late Sunday's anti-terror operation came after two terrorists attacked the Turkish Interior Ministry in the nation's capital, Ankara, just hours before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's speech in parliament, TRT World reported.
"Many terrorists were neutralised by using the maximum amount of domestic and national ammunition in the operations carried out," Defence Ministry said in a statement.
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During the operation, about 20 PKK positions including caves, shelters and depots in Metina, Hakurk, Kandil and Gara regions in northern Iraq were targeted, according to statement.
The aerial campaign was conducted to "eliminate terrorist attacks against our people and security forces from northern Iraq by neutralising PKK/KCK and other terrorist elements and to ensure our border security," the ministry said.
Earlier on Sunday, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device near an entrance to the Interior Ministry's General Security Department, injuring two police officers.
A second assailant was killed in a shootout with police, the interior minister said.
The injured police officers are still being treated, and their injuries are not life-threatening, according to the Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya. Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into the terrorist attack.
Turkish authorities have identified the first terrorist as a PKK member, and the identification of the second is still underway.
The United States condemned the suicide blast near the Turkish Interior Ministry and expressed solidarity with their NATO ally and the Turkish people.
Meanwhile, the United States has condemned the attack at the Turkish Interior Ministry in Ankara. "We wish those injured a speedy recovery. We reject terrorism in all its forms and stand firmly by our NATO Ally Turkiye and the Turkish people," Blinken stated on X (formerly Twitter).
Earlier, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) chief Jens Stoltenberg also expressed solidarity with the country in the wake of the incident and denounced the attack.
"I strongly condemn today's terrorist attack on the Ministry of Interior in #Ankara, and wish a fast and full recovery for the police officers injured in the line of duty," Stoltenberg posted on X, wishing the injured police officers a "quick and complete" recovery.
"NATO stands in solidarity with #Turkiye in the fight against terrorism," he added.
The US Embassy in Turkey also condemned the deadly blast and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
"We strongly condemn the terrorist attack this morning against Turkiye, our NATO Ally. We offer our condolences to those injured and wish them a speedy recovery. We stand in solidarity with Turkiye against terrorism," the US Embassy said in a post on X.
The responsibility of the bombing was claimed by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is banned by Turkey and NATO allies.