Turkish artillery fire has killed 17 Islamic State militants since the battle to drive them from the Iraqi city of Mosul began and four Turkish F-16 fighter jets are on standby to take part, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday. Turkey wants to play a bigger role in the Iraqi-led offensive against the jihadists in Mosul, but Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Saturday declined an offer from Ankara to take part.
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Speaking at a joint news conference with his visiting French counterpart, Cavusoglu also said Turkey will be more active in fighting the Kurdish PKK militant group in Iraq. The PKK has waged a three-decade insurgency in southeastern Turkey and maintains bases in northern Iraq.