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Turkish troops killed in PKK ambush
Kurdish separatists claim responsibility while defence minister threatens "retaliation in kind" over seven deaths.
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2011 11:22
Turkish soldiers regularly patrol the country's predominantly Kurdish southeast [EPA]

Kurdish separatists have killed seven Turkish soldiers in an ambush in the country's restive southeast.

The attack took place on Wednesday in the Cukurca region of the predominantly Kurdish Hakkari province, close to the border with Iraq, Turkish security sources said.

A spokesman for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) said it was responsible for the ambush.

"Our forces have carried out an ambush against the Turkish army. Several Turkish soldiers were killed in the clashes, which have been continuing for two hours until now," the spokesman told the AFP news agency.

Ismet Yilmaz, Turkey's defence minister, confirmed the death toll and said Turkish forces would "retaliate in kind".

Turkish news channel NTV said fighters attacked a military unit with bombs and automatic rifle fire. The unit was on its way to conduct an operation against a group who had earlier detonated a roadside bomb in an attack on another military unit.

The attack comes days after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at tougher military action against rebels after the end of the month of Ramadan, saying "patience is running out."

More than 30 Turkish soldiers and 10 Kurdish seperatists have died in intensified attacks since July.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union, is fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey.

The conflict has killed 40,000 people since 1984.

Source:
Agencies
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