Kurdish rebels threaten suicide attacks against US
By YAHYA BARZANJI, Associated Press Writer
46 minutes ago
QANDIL MOUNTAINS, Iraq - Kurdish rebels could launch
suicide attacks against American interests to punish
the U.S. for sharing intelligence with Turkey after
Turkey bombed rebel bases, a spokeswoman for a wing of
a rebel group warned.
Turkey's military said more than 150 Kurdish rebels
were killed in Friday's air strikes against bases of
the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, on Mount Qandil
on the border of Iran and Iraq. Peritan Derseem, a
senior official of the rebel group's Iranian wing,
PEJAK, claimed that only six people were killed in
latest Turkish strikes.
The PKK fights for autonomy in Turkey's southeast and
also has a wing fighting for Kurdish rights in Iran.
Derseem blamed the United States for helping Turkey in
an interview late Sunday.
She said some rebels want to join suicide squads to
avenge the deaths of their comrades but that
"combatants are under the control of the
organization," which she said is against such attacks.
That may change, Derseem hinted.
"We have changed our stand toward the United States
government and we are standing against them now," she
said. "Maybe some day ... individual combatants might
launch suicide attacks inside Iraq and Turkey, and
even against American interests."
Kurdish rebels have staged several suicide attacks
against Turkish targets in the past in Turkey.
The United States has labeled the rebel group a
terrorist organization and supports Turkey's fight
against the group. The conflict has killed nearly
40,000 since it began in 1984.
Derseem claimed that her group was acting
independently from the main branch of the PKK.
"We have common goals with the PKK and the two parties
follow the principles of Chairman Abdullah Ocalan,"
who is imprisoned on a prison island near Istanbul,
Turkey. "But we have our own decision making."
The Turkish military has launched several air assaults
on Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq in recent
months. In February, it staged a ground offensive that
lasted eight days. Since then, clashes between rebels
and Turkish troops have erupted along Turkey's border
Until the most recent air raid, the military had not
announced an operation that penetrated into Iraq as
far as Mount Qandil.
"They want to annihilate us. But we will not
surrender," said Derseem. "We have been hiding in
caves and nearby mountains."
The rebels said the Turkish jets fired more than 50
missiles at the site and demolished some buildings,
including a meeting hall, a library and a media
Iranian artillery units have also been shelling Mount
Qandil in recent weeks, Derseem said. Craters said to
be left by Iranian shelling were visible on a mountain
path leading to the rebel camp.