One Turkish soldier dead, 13 wounded in clash with Kurdish rebels

Türkiye Materials 17 April 2008 14:25 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - One Turkish soldier was killed and 13 wounded Wednesday night in a fire-fight with Kurdish separatists, the CNN-Turk television station reported on Thursday.

According to CNN-Turk, Turkish soldiers found the group of Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) guerrillas in a mountainous region of the south-eastern province of Siirt, near the border with Iraq. After calling on the guerrillas to surrender the soldiers were fired upon, CNN-Turk reported.

It was not known if the PKK suffered any casualties and operations in the area were continuing on Thursday.

The clash comes a day after Turkish warplanes bombed a group of PKK rebels inside northern Iraq. The Turkish General Staff said the group were planning to cross the border to launch attacks inside Turkey.

In February, the Turkish army launched a week-long cross-border incursion into northern Iraq in a bid to destroy PKK camps. According to the Turkish military 240 PKK fighters, 24 Turkish soldiers and three village guards employed by Turkey were killed in operation.

Ankara blames the separatist group for the deaths of more than 32,000 people since the early 1980s when the PKK began its fight for independence or autonomy for the mainly Kurdish-populated south-east of Turkey.

The PKK is considered by the United States and the European Union to be a terrorist group.