Clashes between Turkish army, Kurdish militants kill nine

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2012 11:44 AM
Clashes between Turkish army, Kurdish militants kill nine

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - A Turkish civilian was killed along with six Kurdish militants and two members of the security forces in separate incidents on Monday as violence continued to flare in Turkey's troubled southeast, security sources said.

Most of the deaths occurred in Hakkari province, a mountainous region which shares borders with Iraq and Iran, when gun battles killed the villager, six members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and one soldier in a helicopter-backed raid of a PKK camp, the sources said.

In Mardin province, further west, remote-controlled explosives were detonated, killing a police officer and wounding three others as their vehicle passed, security officials said.

The PKK, considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has carried out a spate of attacks on military targets in the past few months, stepping up a 28-year-old insurgency.

Fighting between the army and the PKK intensified over the summer, a development which Ankara sees as linked to the chaos in neighboring Syria. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has accused Syria's President Bashar al-Assad of arming the PKK militants.

The fighting in Turkey over the summer was some of the heaviest since the PKK took up arms in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish state. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

(Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan; Writing by Seda Sezer; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Alison Williams)