The attack left five policemen and three civilians dead, including a two-year-old girl [Turkish DHA TV]

A landmine explosion has killed eight people in southeastern Turkey, in an attack which security sources blamed on Kurdish fighters, the local governor said.

The mine, planted on a rural road in the Guroymak district of Bitlis province in the mainly Kurdish area, was detonated by remote control as a police car was passing by, the Anatolia news agency quoted governor Nurettin Yilmaz as saying.

Five policemen and three civilians, including a two-year-old girl, were killed in Tuesday's attack. Three injured people were being treated at an intensive care unit.

Security forces combed the area in search of the assailants, believed to be members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Kurdish fighters have carried out a string of attacks in southeastern Turkey in recent months, killing more than 50 Turkish nationals since July.

The Turkish military has launched retaliatory air raids on PKK targets in northern Iraq, its first strikes in the region in more than a year.

Both the central government in Baghdad, and regional Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq, have condemned the Turkish raids as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms for an autonomous state in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives.

Source: Agencies