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Four soldiers and rebel killed in southeast Turkey

Written by: Staff
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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, May 13 (Reuters) Four soldiers and a Kurdish rebel were killed today in an operation by the Turkish army against guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey, local authorities said.

A statement issued by the office of the governor of the province of Sirnak, near the Iraqi border, said the soldiers clashed with PKK rebels in a mountainous region.

Turkey has massed troops along the border as part of an annual offensive against the banned PKK, whose members regularly cross from Iraq to attack Turkish forces and other targets.

Up to 5,000 PKK militants are believed to be holed up in mountainous northern Iraq.

Ankara blames the PKK responsible for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since the group launched an armed campaign for a Kurdish homeland covering most of eastern Turkey in 1984.

Violent clashes between rebels and security forces have increased since the PKK ended a unilateral ceasefire in 2004.

REUTERS OM SSC1535

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