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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Airstrikes by Turkish warplanes have "neutralised" 15 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, the military said on Twitter on Saturday, destroying hideouts and armouries belonging to the group.

The Turkish army uses the phrase neutralise when it has killed, captured or wounded combatants.

The air strikes carried out on Friday targeted the Gara, Zap and Avasin-Basyan regions of northern Iraq, Turkish military said, adding that the militants were believed to be preparing to carry out an attack.

"Fifteen armed members of the separatist terror organisation, who were in preparations for an attack to military bases, were neutralised, hideouts and armouries were destroyed by air strikes carried out on Nov. 9," the military said, using the term it applies to the PKK.

Turkey regularly carries out air strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the group is based in the Qandil mountains.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by the United States, the European Union and Turkey, has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast that has killed some 40,000 people.

(Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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Reuters