The Turkish military says its ground troops conducted a small-scale incursion into northern Iraq Tuesday and that the military has dealt a heavy blow to Kurdish rebels based there.
In a statement on its Web site Tuesday, the military said Turkish troops ventured several kilometers into Iraqi territory. It said soldiers acted after they determined that rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party were preparing to sneak into Turkey before dawn on Tuesday.
The military did not say how many soldiers were involved in the operation or if they have all returned to Turkey. But Iraqi Kurdish officials put the number in the hundreds and say the troops have withdrawn.
Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States, Turkey and Iraq share a common interest in stopping Kurdish rebel activities. Rice also cautioned the parties against actions that could destabilize northern Iraq.