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Turkish soldiers killed in attacks by Kurdish guerillas

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-10-19

The PKK has claimed credit for attacking military targets in south-east Turkey near the border with Iraq on Wednesday, killing 24 Turkish soldiers. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan subsequently cancelled a planned visit to Kazakhstan.

REUTERS - Kurdish guerrillas killed 24 Turkish soldiers in attacks on military posts in southeastern Turkey early on Wednesday, security sources told Reuters, the biggest single death toll for Turkish security forces in years.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a planned visit to Kazakhstan after the attacks, sources in his office said.

At least 18 soldiers were also wounded when militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) opened fire on military outposts in Cukurca and Yuksekova districts in Hakkari province on the border with Iraq, the sources said.

Earlier, the sources said 21 soldiers had been killed but later raised the toll. Turkey's armed forces could not be immediately reached for comment. The PKK did not immediately claim responsibility for the attacks.

The attacks come only a day after five policemen and three civilians, including a 2-year-old girl, were killed in a roadside bomb attack planted by suspected Kurdish rebels in nearby Bitlis province.

Wednesday's attacks also come only days after Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited troops in the region to boost morale in an area that has seen increased violence in recent months.

Kurdish separatists have stepped up their attacks in southeastern Turkey, killing more than 50 Turkish security personnel since July.

The Turkish military has launched retaliatory air raids on Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq.

Kurdish rebels took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have died in the conflict. They have bases in northern Iraq from which they cross the border to attack Turkish targets.

The PKK is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Date created : 2011-10-19


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