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Turk killed in fighting with Kurdish rebels

Written by: Staff
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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Mar 12 (Reuters) A member of Turkey's security forces was killed fighting Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey late yesterday, the third to die in a week-long operation, officials said today.

The helicopter-backed sweep against rebels in the mountainous Sirnak province near the Iraqi border continued today, the security officials said.

On Friday two security men were killed in the same operation, which has also injured five, while on Monday police said rebels from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) killed two policemen in an ambush in the southeastern city of Batman.

Ankara blames the PKK for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since the rebels launched their armed struggle in 1984 for an independent Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey.

Both the United States and the European Union regard the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

Violence waned after the 1999 capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan but has increased again since the end of a unilateral ceasefire in 2004.

Officials also say the PKK may have been behind an apparent suicide bombing in the eastern city of Van on Thursday in which three people died.

REUTERS CH RN1715

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