Soldier killed by mine in southeast Turkey
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, May 12 (Reuters) A Turkish soldier was killed today after stepping on a mine laid by Kurdish rebels in the ountry's troubled southeast, security officials said.
The incident occurred during military operations in a remote mountainous area of Hakkari province, on the Iraqi border.
The officials said troop reinforcements had been sent to the area and military helicopters were making reconnaissance flights to establish the whereabouts of the rebels. The dead man held the rank of sergeant-major.
Turkey has massed troops along its Iraqi border as part of an annual spring offensive against rebels of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who regularly pass into Turkey from Iraq to attack Turkish security forces and other targets.
Up to 5,000 PKK militants are believed to be holed up in mountainous, mainly Kurdish northern Iraq.
Ankara holds the PKK responsible for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since the group launched its armed campaign for a Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey in 1984.
Violent clashes between rebels and security forces have increased since the PKK ended a unilateral ceasefire in 2004.
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