Turkish PM says air, ground ops first step against militant

ISTANBUL - Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday air and ground operations were underway as a first step against Kurdish militants, a day after guerrilla attacks near the border with northern Iraq killed 24 Turkish soldiers, inflicting one of the largest losses suffered by the military in a three decade-old insurgency.
Security officials said around 1,000 Turkish commandos were scouring the mountainous terrain several kilometers inside Iraqi territory, and 21 militants had been killed during the counter attack. Cobra helicopter gunships have backed up ground forces, and warplanes have carried out air strikes.
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