Telve killed in Kurdish rebel ambush in Turkey

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TUNCELI, Turkey, Sep 29 (Reuters) Twelve people, including seven village guards, were killed today when Kurdish rebels ambushed their minibus in southeast Turkey, Turkish military officials said.

They said guerrillas from the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) ambushed the vehicle as 14 people returned to their village in Sirnak province near the border with Iraq.

They ordered the passengers out of the vehicle and gunned them down with automatic weapons, killing 12. Two people were injured and taken to hospital.

The attack follows the killing of a senior militant from the PKK during a military operation in the region. The village guards who were killed had been taking part in the operation which began in mid-September.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 with the aim of carving out an ethnic homeland in the southeast of Turkey. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

The fighting dwindled after the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999, but clashes have flared up again in the last couple of years.

Reuters MP VP0313

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