The Turkish army has struck what it says is a group of Kurdish separatists after six of its soldiers were killed by a mine. Military officials say the device was detonated by PKK rebels using remote control.
The blast occurred late last night in the mainly Kurdish Hakkari province, close to Turkey’s border with Iraq. As well as the six casualties, eight soldiers were wounded. It is the heaviest toll suffered by Turkish soldiers since a bomb blamed on the PKK killed nine soldiers in late April.
Immediately after the explosion, Turkish troops, backed by helicopters, launched an offensive against PKK guerillas near the Iraqi border. The operation intensified this morning as Turkish jets bombarded a suspected group of rebels in northern Iraq.
The PKK, which the EU lists as a terrorist group, has led an armed struggle for a Kurdish state since the mid 1980s.