PKK militants attack Turkish police as truce over

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 24, 2011 4:11 PM
PKK militants attack Turkish police as truce over

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Kurdish rebel fighters launched a rocket attack on a police station in southeast Turkey on Thursday, the first attack of note since the main Kurdish militant group ended a ceasefire last month.

Security officials said smoke was billowing out of the second floor of the police station in Hani district of Diyarbakir province, but they had no information on any casualties.

The militants withdrew after a short firefight and security forces have called up reinforcements to conduct a search of the area.

Security officials said the fighters belonged to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which ended a six-month ceasefire on February 28, in a move that raised fears of violence ahead of a national election in Turkey in June.

PKK fighters have been killed in encounters with security forces since the ceasefire ended, but the clash in Hani was notable as it began with an attack by the militants.

The PKK took up arms in 1984 in a bid to carve out an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey, but has scaled back demands to greater political autonomy and cultural rights for Turkey's estimated 15 million Kurds.

(Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan; Writing by Simon Cameron-Moore)