Young boy killed in Turkish air strike in northern Iraq

Turkey has been fighting the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, near its border with Iraq

Salah Shfan, 12, was killed by a Turkish air strike in northern Iraq. Photo: Talal Murad
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A boy of 12 was killed in a Turkish air strike aimed at the Kurdistan Workers Party in northern Iraq on Wednesday, a security official and a family member told The National.

Several others were wounded in the attack around noon in the Sinuni area outside Sinjar, the Iraqi official added.

He did not confirm whether the air strike was carried out by a drone or fighter jets.

Salah Shfan was sitting inside his father’s stationary shop in the main market when the air strike hit the adjacent Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) headquarters, his cousin Talal Murad said.

“The roof collapsed on them and several other nearby buildings were also damaged,” Mr Murad said.

Six others who were inside the shop, five children and a man, were wounded, he said, and two of the children were transferred to nearby hospitals in Mosul.

In pictures: Turkey's conflict with the PKK

Videos on social media showed a group of people gathered at what resembled an outdoor market when a man emerges from the crowd and rushes to a pick-up truck carrying a body covered in blood.

Others can be seen fighting flames billowing from shops and a building — and removing debris.

The identity of the other victims was not yet known.

Turkish army commandos patrol the area near the Turkey-Iraq border. Tens of thousands of Turkish troops continue to be deployed along the mountainous border region with Iraq to avert the threat of a possible cross-border attack being launched by the PKK.  Getty Images

Turkey has been fighting the PKK, a Turkish separatist movement, in northern Iraq where the group's main bases are situated.

In recent months, Turkey has pushed more troops into Iraqi territory, while launching strikes by either drones or fighter jets deeper.

The presence of Turkish troops has caused tensions between Iraq and Turkey, which attempts to justify its incursions into neighbouring countries by citing its fight against the PKK, which is outlawed by Ankara and considered a terrorist group by the US and EU.

Turkey has maintained several outposts in Iraq since 2016 and in April began one of its largest military operations in the country's north against the PKK, called Operation Claw-Lock.

Kurdish rebels have demanded autonomous rule in Turkey's south-east since 1984. Since then its conflict with the Turkish central government has resulted in more than 30,000 deaths.

Updated: June 15, 2022, 12:14 PM
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