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Soldiers attacked

jen, / dpa/APApril 29, 2009

Turkey's military says nine Turkish soldiers have been killed in a bomb explosion in the mainly Kurdish southeast of the country. It's the deadliest attack on security forces in months.

Flag of the PKK Kurdish Workers' Party, considered by the EU to be a terror group
Turkey says Kurdish PKK adherents are behind the attackImage: AP

The Turkish military suspects that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, was behind the attack.

The soliders were taking part in a routine patrol in the Lice region of Diyarbakir province, when their M-113 armored personnel vehicle was hit early on Wednesday, Turkish General Ilker Basbug confirmed.

The military launched air and ground offensives against the separatists following the blast in the Diyarbakir province.

'We live with terrorism'

Basbug told a news conference that the military thinks it was likely "a homemade bomb of very powerful explosives," either "remote-controlled or detonated by cable." He said the size of the explosion could be imagined by the fact that the armoured personnel vehicle was protected by 4.5 centimetres of steel plating.

"We are a country that lives with terrorism," Basbug said.

Ankara blames the separatist group for the deaths of more than 35,000 people since the early 1980s when the PKK began its fight for independence or autonomy for the mainly Kurdish-populated south-east of Turkey.

The PKK is considered by the United States and the European Union to be a terrorist group.