Ankara, April 23  At least 45 members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been killed during Turkey’s new ground and air cross-border operation in northern Iraq, said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The operation also killed three Turkish soldiers, Xinhua news agency quoted the President as saying.

The “destruction of caves and other critical targets” in the region is still underway, tErdogan noted, hoping that the operation will be “successfully completed with minimum loss”.

On Monday, the Turkish military launched an operation dubbed Claw-Lock against the PKK bases, including its shelters, caves, tunnels, and ammunition depots, in northern Iraq after the Defence Ministry claimed that the PKK was found to be planning a large-scale attack in the country.

Turkey witnessed this week a bus explosion that killed one in the northwestern province of Bursa, and a stun grenade attack on the office of the Turkey Youth Foundation in Istanbul, both allegedly carried out by terrorist groups working for the PKK.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, has been rebelling against the Ankara government for more than 30 years.

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