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Turkish army kills 11 Kurdish rebels

RIA Novosti

10/04/2008 18:30 ANKARA, April 10 (RIA Novosti) - Turkish troops have killed 11 Kurdish militants in the Tunceli province in the southeast of the country in a series of anti-terrorist raids, local authorities said on Thursday.

"Operations with the use of combat aircraft in the region are ongoing," the Tunceli governor's office said in a press release.

Last Tuesday nine Kurdish militants and three Turkish soldiers were killed in clashes in the province of Sirnak, which borders on Iraq.

Large volumes of arms, ammunition and other supplies belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have been seized by Turkish troops in the raids.

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous ethnic Kurd state in southeast Turkey for nearly 25 years. The conflict has so far claimed over 40,000 lives.

In late February, over 10,000 Turkish troops were involved in a ground operation in northern Iraq that targeted PKK bases. The eight-day operation saw the deaths of 27 Turkish military personnel and around 240 Kurdish militants, and led to widespread criticism from the West.

The General Staff acknowledged in a statement that the PKK had not been eliminated in the military incursion. Turkey also pledged to continue ground operations in Iraq.

In mid-March, the PKK said it was ready to discuss a ceasefire with Turkish authorities. Turkey has consistently refused to enter into a dialogue with the party, listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S., NATO and the European Union.



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