Kurdish rebels say killed 16 Turkish soldiers

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SULAIMANIYA, Iraq, Oct 21 (Reuters) Kurdish rebels said they have killed at least 16 Turkish soldiers and taken ''several'' more hostage in clashes near the Iraqi border.

''There were clashes with the Turkish troops late last night in which we have killed at least 16 soldiers and wounded 20. We also captured several,'' a senior source in the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) told Reuters.

''We cannot give details on how many we have captured, all I can say is that they are not in Iraq. They are in Turkey.'' Turkish security sources said earlier Kurdish rebels killed at least 13 Turkish soldiers in an ambush near the Iraqi border today.

The Turkish military shelled areas in northern Iraq this morning but no casualties were reported. Tension has been growing along the Iraqi-Turkish border since Wednesday when Turkey's parliament authorised troops to conduct cross-border raids into northern Iraq to hunt down PKK rebels.

It was not immediately clear whether the shelling and the attack were linked.

REUTERS SKB MIR RAI1835

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