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Page last updated at 09:13 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 10:13 UK

Turkish troops in rebel clashes

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Five Turkish soldiers and five Kurdish rebels have been killed in clashes in the south-east close to the Iraqi border, the Turkish army says.

It says another Turkish soldier died and 15 were wounded when a helicopter carrying reinforcements crashed because of a technical failure.

But Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels claimed that they had shot down the helicopter, Reuters reports.

The Turkish army says the rebels were killed in two separate clashes.

PKK guerrillas have not confirmed the deaths.

Turkey has staged cross-border raids into northern Iraq recently in pursuit of the Kurdish rebels.

The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in the south-east for over two decades.

Nearly 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far.

Terrorist blacklist

The latest clashes broke out on Wednesday when PKK rebels opened fire on a group of soldiers in Hakkari province, the Turkish military said in a statement.

The PKK rebels died in two separate operations in Semdinli and Sirnak near the Iraqi border, according to the statement.

The PKK has been blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Ankara accuses Iraq of failing to stop the guerrillas from using northern Iran as a safe haven.

The army has launched almost daily raids in the south-east and across the border into Iraq in retaliation for a series of deadly attacks by PKK rebels.

Earlier this month militants ambushed and killed 17 Turkish soldiers at a border outpost, in the worst attack on the military in more than a year.


SEE ALSO
Timeline: Turkey
05 Aug 08 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Turkey
19 Jul 08 |  Country profiles


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