Three Kurdish rebels killed in southeast Turkey

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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Oct 4 (Reuters) Three Kurdish separatist guerrillas were killed today in an armed clash with Turkish troops in southeast Turkey, security officials said.

The incident occurred in Mardin province near the Syrian border.

Weapons were seized along with the dead men.

''Security forces are continuing their operations against the terrorists,'' an official said.

Turkish forces have been battling separatist guerrillas of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) since 1984 in a conflict that has claimed more than 30,000 lives.

Last weekend, PKK rebels killed 12 people, seven of them village guards, after ordering them off a minibus near the Iraqi border in southeast Turkey.

That incident came a day after the interior ministers of Turkey and Iraq signed an anti-terrorism agreement designed to strengthen cooperation in the fight against the PKK.

An estimated 3,000 Kurdish rebels are based in mainly Kurdish northern Iraq, which they use as a springboard to attack military and civilian targets inside Turkey.

REUTERS JK BD1617

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