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Turkish security officers killed in clashes with Kurdish rebels

Kurdish militants have killed three security officers and wounded several more in the southeast of Turkey. Government troops blocked off a border town in pursuit of the attackers.

Two gendarmes and a special forces police officer died in firefights with

Kurdish rebels on Saturday,

according to Turkish officials.

The members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) opened fire on a gendarmes military vehicle in the town of Cizre, near the borders with Iraq and Syria. The soldiers had pulled over on the side of the road to change the tires, officials said. Two of the troopers were killed and the remaining two are wounded.

The security forces launched a large-scale search for the attackers, shutting off entry and exit routes around Cizre. Witnesses from the scene reported gunfire in the town.

Curfews across the region

A member of the police special forces was also shot in Diyarbakir, the largest city in the

Kurdish-populated southeast.

Another officer was wounded in the shootout.

A large part of the city is under permanent curfew as authorities continue their push against the PKK.

The Turkish officials also set curfews in districts of the nearby towns of Hazro and Lice, the governor's office said on Saturday.

Hundreds of people have died since the truce between the PKK and Ankara forces collapsed in July. Turkey also launched airstrikes against Kurdish forces in Syria.

There are some 15 million ethnic Kurds living in Turkey, making them the largest minority in the nation.

dj/jm (Reuters, AFP)

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