ISTANBUL, Turkey — The Turkish military said Saturday it attacked 50 to 60 Kurdish rebels inside Iraqi territory, inflicting "significant losses."

It did not say whether Turkish troops had crossed into Iraq for the operation. The U.S. military said it had no reports of a Turkish incursion across the Iraqi border.

An Iraqi Kurdish official and a PKK official denied there had been an attack. But a pro-Kurdish news agency said there had been shelling.

The military said on its Web site that the rebels were detected following intelligence work and that military operations in the region would continue if necessary.

The attack came a day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the government had authorized the military to launch a cross-border offensive against Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq at any time.

"There was an intensified operation against the mentioned terrorists using fire support vehicles," the statement said. "The terrorist group suffered significant losses as a result of the operation," it added.

"If necessary, there will be other operations in the region using other means."

The military said the attack occurred "inside Iraqi borders," southeast of the Turkish town of Cukurca in Hakkari province. Hakkari, where rebels are active, is in the southeast corner of Turkey and shares a border with Iran as well as Iraq.

It was not clear from the statement whether the Turks fired from the Turkish or Iraqi side of the border.

Firat, a pro-Kurdish news agency, reported that Turkish army units shelled the Dola Mir and Dola Merge areas in northern Iraq on Saturday. A Firat reporter said the areas are across the border from Cukurca.

"No pinpoint operation or military movement was observed after the shelling that lasted nearly two hours," Firat said, citing Iraqi Kurdish officials.

Jamal Abdullah, a spokesman for the government of Iraqi Kurdistan, denied there had been any clashes, shelling or Turkish incursion into Iraq.

"There isn't any Turkish military operation inside Iraqi territory. The situation is calm," he said.

A senior PKK official who refused to give his name also denied any fighting.

"There aren't any clashes between us and the Turkish side inside the Iraqi territories, neither artillery bombardments nor jets shooting," he said.

Turkish forces have periodically shelled suspected rebel positions across the Iraqi border, and have sometimes carried out "hot pursuits" — limited raids on the Iraqi side that sometimes last only a few hours.

Erdogan's announcement Friday followed communication in recent weeks between the military and the government concerning the scope of a possible operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

A top general had said the military was awaiting a government directive on how to proceed against the group, which has been fighting the Turkish state since 1984.

Parliament voted Oct. 17 in favor of authorizing the government to order a cross-border operation against the PKK, which seeks autonomy for the Kurdish minority in southeastern Turkey.

Turkey massed tens of thousands of Turkish troops along the border with Iraq amid a series of attacks by Kurdish insurgents. But some military officials have said Turkey is more likely to stage airstrikes and raids by special forces instead of a large-scale occupation of Iraqi territory that could carry greater military and political risks.

The United States and Iraq have urged Turkey to avoid a major operation against PKK bases in northern Iraq, fearing such an operation would destabilize what has been the calmest region in the country. In a Nov. 5 meeting with Erdogan, President Bush promised to share intelligence with the Turkish government on the PKK.

The Turkish military did not say whether it conducted Saturday's operation with American help.