PKK say Turkish helicopter shot down

ZAKHU, Iraq (Reuters) - Kurdish PKK guerrillas said on Sunday they had shot down a Turkish Cobra attack helicopter during clashes with Turkish forces in northern Iraq.

"At 6 p.m. (3 p.m. British time) yesterday, our fightersshot down a Cobra helicopter," Ahmed Danees, head of foreignrelations for the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK),told Reuters by telephone.

He gave no details of casualties but said more informationwould be released later. The incident had occurred duringfighting in the remote Chamsku area close to the border, Daneessaid.

"The clashes are still ongoing. Yesterday evening there wasartillery shelling and air strikes on the PKK inside Iraq," headded.

On Saturday, Danees said PKK fighters had killed 22 Turkishsoldiers since Turkey began a cross-border offensive intoIraq's largely autonomous Kurdistan region on Thursday.

He said PKK fighters had recovered the bodies of 15 ofthose killed and the guerrillas would also release their namessoon.

Turkey's military General Staff has said in a statement onits Web site that only seven Turkish troops had been killed,while its forces had killed 79 PKK rebels.

Verifying information about casualties is difficult as thefighting is taking place in an inaccessible mountain region.

(Reporting by Shamal Aqrawi; Writing by Michael Holden;Editing by Michael Winfrey)

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