Kurdish rebels halt attacks for Muslim holiday

8/12/2008 - 10:23

SULAIMANIYA, Iraq (Reuters) - Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq will halt attacks within Turkey in a week-long cease-fire in honour of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday, an official said on Monday.

Ruz Walat, an official with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), said the cease-fire for the separatist group, which has fought for years with Turkish forces in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey, would last until Saturday.

"PKK fighters will stop attacks inside Turkey, but if the Turkish army does not respect the cease-fire then we will fight back," he added.

Turkish forces have routinely bombed and shelled remote PKK areas in the mountains of northern Iraq, from which rebels have launched attacks into Turkey.

The PKK, which the United States and European Union deem a terrorist organisation, claimed responsibility for detonating a section of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline between Iraq and Turkey last month.

Also last month, U.S., Turkish and Iraqi officials held talks in Baghdad on how to restrain PKK activities.

(Reporting by Sherko Raouf in Sulaimaniya; writing by Ahmed Rasheed and Missy Ryan in Baghdad; Editing by Charles Dick)

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