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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Kurdish rebels kill five Turkish soldiers

ISTANBUL, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Kurdish militants killed five Turkish soldiers in two attacks in southeastern Turkey late on Friday, army officials said.

Two officers and a soldier were killed by a roadside bomb in the province of Sirnak, while two soldiers were killed in an attack on their command post in Hakkari, near the Iraqi border.

The army responded with a helicopter-backed operation along the border with Iraq.

Turkey has been urging the United States to tackle thousands of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants who it says are based across the border, indicating that it may otherwise send in its own troops.

Violence in the mainly Kurdish southeast has escalated in recent months -- 16 members of the security forces were killed in just one week in July -- while Turkish tourist resorts were hit this week by a series of attacks that killed three people and injured dozens.

Those attacks were claimed by the Kurdistan Liberation Hawks, which have links to the PKK. The PKK launched an armed campaign for a Kurdish homeland in 1984 in which more than 30,000 people have died.
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