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Page last updated at 12:21 GMT, Monday, 6 October 2008 13:21 UK

PKK 'holding two Turkish troops'

Turkish soldier's funeral after PKK attack 5/10/08
Turkey's army on Friday suffered its biggest loss in a year

Kurdish rebels say they are holding two Turkish soldiers following last week's attack on a military position in the south-east of Turkey.

It was not clear if the soldiers were dead or alive. "We will announce this soon," a PKK spokesman said.

The Turkish military said 15 soldiers were killed, 20 wounded and two were missing after Friday's attack.

On Monday, Turkish warplanes carried out bombing raids against suspected PKK rebel positions in northern Iraq.

Figures disputed

Friday's ambush near Turkey's town of Semdinli was the deadliest attack attributed to rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for a year.

Map

The Turkish military said it fought back killing 23 rebels.

The PKK has disputed the figures.

PKK spokesman Ahmed Danees told Reuters news agency by telephone on Monday: "We have two Turkish soldiers. I cannot confirm if they are dead or alive."

Earlier, the AFP news agency cited a PKK statement saying that it was in possession of "two bodies of Turkish soldiers".

Turkey blames the PKK for a series of bomb attacks on its cities, and often targets the rebels, based in Kurdish northern Iraq, with air strikes.

More than 40,000 people are thought to have been killed since 1984, when the PKK launched its campaign for a Kurdish homeland in south-eastern Turkey.


SEE ALSO
Which direction for Turkey now?
24 Sep 08 |  Europe
Rendezvous with the PKK
29 Jul 08 |  Europe
Profile: The PKK
15 Oct 07 |  Europe
Timeline: Turkey
05 Aug 08 |  Country profiles

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