Landmine kills two Turkish soldiers: official (TURKEY)

Two soldiers were killed and eight wounded Wednesday in eastern Turkey in a landmine blast blamed on Kurdish rebels, a local security source said.


Separately, a Kurdish rebel was killed in a skirmish with security forces in a rural area near Cukurca, in Hakkari province near Turkey's borders with Iran and Iraq, the military said on its website.

In the landmine incident, the soldiers were on patrol near the town of Baskale, Van province, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Iranian border, when the explosive went off.

Separatist rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were suspected to be behind the explosion, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.The blast came a day after six soldiers were killed and three others wounded in two separate clashes with PKK rebels in the southeast.

The government is trying to win public support for a planned package of reforms to boost the rights of Turkey's Kurdish community and encourage the PKK to lay down arms.The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community,
has been fighting for self-rule in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast and east since 1984, in a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

Last week, the rebels announced that they were extending a unilateral ceasefire to the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on September 22.They warned, however, that they would defend themselves if they came under attack from
the Turkish military.

Ankara has never recognised the PKK's unilateral truces and the military operations against
the rebels have continued.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009 All reproduction and presentation rights reserved.

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Von: 9 September 2009 (AFP)

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