ISTANBUL, Turkey, AP – Kurdish rebels killed five Turkish soldiers in a rocket attack in southeastern Turkey early Friday, the semiofficial Anatolia news agency reported.
It was the deadliest attack by Kurdish rebels on Turkish forces since early July, when six soldiers were killed and 12 people were injured by a remote-controlled bomb. The attack came just hours after Kurdish rebels released a kidnapped Turkish soldier they had held captive for more than three weeks.
The rocket attack occurred just after midnight and targeted a group of soldiers serving in remote Hakkari province, which borders both Iraq and Iran and which has seen an increase in violence between Turkish soldiers and Kurdish rebels.
The attack killed five soldiers and injured at least seven more people, Anatolia said.
The rebels are based in northern Iraq and carry out attacks in southeastern Turkey. Turkey”s calls on the United States and Iraq to wipe out the rebel camps in northern Iraq have become more urgent as the violence has increased.
Turkey says it reserves the right to send its soldiers across the border into Iraq if the attacks continue.
More than 37,000 people have died in the conflict between the Turkish army and the Kurdistan Workers” Party, or PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.
The PKK took up arms in 1984 and called off a 1999 cease fire last year. Violence has increased since then.