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Turkey deploys thousands of troops against Kurdish rebels

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militants this week is one of its largest military operation in years, with 10,000 troops backed by warplanes pursuing rebels in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq, the Turkish army said Thursday.

The offensive began only hours after the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, mounted deadly attacks against the Turkish military, killing 24 soldiers and wounding 18 early Wednesday in Hakkari province.

In all, 22 battalions of elite commando and special-forces troops were operating against the insurgents in five locations, supported by surveillance drones, helicopters and F-16 and F-4 jets, the army said, adding that at least three militants had been killed so far and that explosives and other military equipment had been confiscated.

The Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq have expressed concerns about Turkish crossborder military incursions in the past, but both of them condemned the attacks by the PKK in strong terms and offered to help prevent the group from operating in northern Iraq, according to Turkish news outlets.

Turkey has demanded that the Iraqi Kurds support their efforts to eliminate militant bases around the Qandil Mountains, a rugged section of northern Iraq.

—Sebnem Arsu, The New York Times

China to allow some local governments to issue bonds

SHANGHAI — Amid worries that local governments in China may be running short of cash, Beijing gave approval Thursday to a trial program that will allow the authorities in four regions to issue bonds.

The cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen, in southern China, as well as Zhejiang and Guangdong Provinces — all fast-growing coastal areas — were selected to take part in the program, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance.

The decision comes at a time when the Chinese government is tightening credit in the hopes of taming inflation and a property bubble, and easing growth in the world’s second largest economy after the United States.

That policy has begun to sting property developers, local governments that depend on land auctions for income and small- and medium-sized businesses, which often rely on high interest loans from underground banks.

There are also growing concerns that the Chinese banking system may be at risk because many local governments have amassed huge debts over the past three years by using undeveloped land as collateral.

—David Barboza, The New York Times