ANKARA (Reuters) - At least 42 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants were killed in air strikes and clashes on Monday and Tuesday and three soldiers died, the Turkish military said on Tuesday.
It said Turkish warplanes hit caves and gun positions of the PKK in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq, where its leadership is based, late on Monday, killing 18 fighters.
It also said one soldier and five militants were killed in clashes in a rural area of Cukurca in Hakkari province, which borders Iran and Iraq, on Tuesday.
In operations on Monday, six PKK fighters were killed in Nusaybin, near the Syrian border, seven in the town of Sirnak and one in Cukurca, a military statement said.
On Monday, PKK militants armed with rocket launchers and rifles attacked a military outpost in the Semdinli district of Hakkari province, setting off a clash in which two Turkish soldiers and five PKK fighters were killed, the military said.
Thousands of militants and hundreds of security force members and civilians have been killed since the conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state resumed last July after a 2-1/2-year ceasefire.
The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey and its Western allies, began a separatist insurgency in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz, Daren Butler, Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Janet Lawrence)