ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s official news agency is reporting that three Turkish soldiers were killed in northern Iraq in clashes with Kurdish militants.

Anadolu Agency, citing the Turkish Defense Ministry, said Sunday that another seven soldiers were wounded and hospitalized.

Turkey launched the “Claw” operation in May into mountainous northern Iraq against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The offensive entered its third phase Friday, in which troops aim to destroy PKK caves and shelters in the Sinat-Haftanin region.

The PKK began an insurgency against Turkey in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast in 1984, and the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people. Turkey, the United States and the European Union consider the group, based in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq, a terror organization.