Three Turkish soldiers killed in attacks blamed on PKK | News | DW | 02.08.2015
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Three Turkish soldiers killed in attacks blamed on PKK

Three Turkish soldiers have been killed in two attacks blamed on Kurdish PKK rebels. The incidents come as Ankara continues a bombing campaign in northern Iraq directed at PKK positions.

In one attack, a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden tractor to a military station in the eastern Turkish province of Agri, bordering Iran, the local governor's office said in a statement.

Two soldiers were killed and 24 were wounded in the attack overnight to Sunday, the office said.

The soldiers were part of the local Jandarma (gendarmerie) force that is tasked with looking after internal security.

The attack is being blamed on militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who have stepped up assaults on security forces in recent days in retaliation for bombing raids by Turkish warplanes on PKK positions in northern Iraq.

In a separate incident, which was also blamed on the Kurdish rebels, a Turkish soldier was killed and at least four wounded early Sunday in a roadside mine explosion in the Midyat district of southeastern Mardin province.

Growing death toll

According to a toll by the AFP news agency, at least 17 security force members have been killed in attacks blamed on the PKK since last week, when Ankara launched a two-pronged "anti-terror" offensive targeting both "Islamic State" ("IS") jihadists in Syria and PKK sites in northern Iraq.

So far, the bombing raids have focused largely on PKK targets, leading to international criticism of Turkey for turning its back on an ongoing peace process with the Kurdish rebels, who have been fighting for more than 30 years to gain greater rights and powers for Turkish Kurds in an insurgency that has cost tens of thousands of lives.

The Turkish bombing attacks have put an end to a fragile truce in place since March 2013.

Turkish officials say the strikes against the PKK are in response to increased violence from the group, while the leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition has accused President Tayyip Recep Erdogan of using the war against "IS" as a cover for continuing the fight against the Kurdish minority.

tj/ng (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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