June 15 (UPI) -- Turkish warplanes struck dozens of Kurdish targets in northern Iraq out of self-defense, Turkey's National Defense Ministry said Monday.
"Operation Claw-Eagle has started," it announced via twitter. "Our planes are bringing the caves down on the terrorists' heads."
Eight-one targets consisting of shelters and caves of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known as the PKK, were destroyed, it tweeted, and all aircraft returned unharmed to their bases.
The ministry said the attacks were conducted to ensure the security of its citizens and borders amid increased attempts by the PKK and other "terrorist elements" to attack police stations and military bases in the region.
"In line with our legitimate self-defense rights arising from international law, air operations were carried out in terrorist slots" in several areas in northern Iraq, it said.
Jets, unmanned aerial vehicles and refueling aircraft participated in the operation, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The number of casualties, if any, was not reported.
Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler and other top officials oversaw the operation, the ministry said in a statement.
The PKK, which has been designated a terrorist organization by several countries, including the United States, first picked up arms against Turkey in 1984 when it initiated its separatist movement.