Two Turkish soldiers were martyred and four others were wounded in an anti-terror operation in northern Iraq, the Turkish Defense Ministry said Thursday. 

In a statement, the ministry said the two soldiers were martyred in a clash with terrorists in a pre-emptive strike against elements of the PKK terror group in the Gara region as part of the second phase of Operation Claw-Eagle.

The statement added that the targets detected were hit with airstrikes and the presence of the terrorist organization in the region was dealt a heavy blow.

The terror elements were targeted in Gara to prevent them from re-establishing their positions used to carry out terror attacks against Turkey, the ministry added.

The second phase of Operation Claw-Eagle is in line with the right of self-defense arising from international law to neutralize the PKK/KCK and other terrorist elements, the ministry added.

Turkey’s operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle were launched last June to ensure the safety of the Turkish people and borders by neutralizing the threat of the PKK and other terrorist groups that often use northern Iraq to plan cross-border attacks.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people including women, children and infants.

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