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Hundreds of Kurdish militants killed since December, says Turkey's army

More than 32 PKK militants have been killed in one of the deadliest weekends since the Kurdish insurgency erupted. A human rights monitor says more than 70 civilians have been killed in curfew-hit towns.

A total of 448 members of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) have been killed since mid-December, the Turkish army said in a statement on Sunday.

The statement comes amid one of the bloodiest weekends since the Kurdish insurgency erupted in 1984.

Turkey's Dogan news agency reported that Turkish forces raided a home over the weekend in the eastern Van province after receiving intelligence that PKK militants were planning a large-scale attack on government sites.

At least 12 members of the militant group and one police officer were killed in the raid.

"The terrorists came to Van to stage a big attack. Fortunately, we managed to prevent it," provincial governor Ibrahim Tasyapan told reporters, according to AFP news agency.

The Turkish army said that another 20 militants were killed on Saturday following operations in the towns of Cizre and Silopi in the province of Sirnak, and in the Sur district of the region's largest city Diyarbakir, all of which are subject to a blanket curfew.

The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey said on Saturday that more than 70 civilians were killed in curfew-hit towns since December, when Turkey stepped up operations on Kurdish strongholds.

No end in sight

According to local media reports, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held a closed-door meeting with members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and explained that operations and curfews in the region would end within a week.

However, he denied that he offered a deadline for security operations in a televised speech broadcast on Sunday.

"We will pursue our anti-terror fight with great determination until…our mountains, plains and towns are cleansed of these killed," Davutoglu said.

The conflict has left more than 40,000 dead since 1984.

Watch video 04:14

Turkey's Kurds divided by conflict

ls/bw (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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