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Turkey launches crackdown after car bomb in southeast

A car bomb at a checkpoint in southeastern Turkey has killed eight civilians and nine soldiers. The government has launched a military operation in response to the attack.

Eight civilians and nine soldiers died after Sunday's explosion, news agencies reported. Repeating a statement by the Turkish Armed Forces, the Anadolu Agency reported that the attack occurred as soldiers conducted car inspections at 9:45 a.m. outside a gendarmerie checkpoint on the Semdinli-Yuksekova highway, near the borders with Iraq and Iran. Little more information was immediately available: Turkish authorities imposed a temporary blackout on coverage of the attack, citing public order and national security reasons.

The explosion produced a crater 15 meters (50 feet) wide and 7 meters deep. An infantry station located behind the checkpoint also suffered heavy damage.

Energy Minister Berat Albayrak condemned the attack during a speech in Istanbul on Sunday, calling on all countries to stand together against terrorism. Hundreds of civilians have died in a yearlong government crackdown on groups fighting for Kurdish liberation in the region.

On Thursday, a bomb mounted to a motorcycle exploded near a police station in Istanbul, slightly wounding 10 people. On Friday, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons claimed responsibility. Police have since detained six people in connection with that attack.

mkg/rc (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

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