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Turkish warplanes strike PKK targets in southeast

The recent violence has killed 29 members of the Turkish security forces [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 August, 2015

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Turkish warplanes struck Kurdish rebels positions in southeast Turkey, the military said Tuesday, a day after heavy violence in the country left at least nine dead.

Turkish warplanes overnight carried out a new wave of air strikes against targets of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the country's southeast, the army said Tuesday.

"Seventeen targets of the separatist terrorists were hit with precision and neutralised" in Buzul mountain and the Ikiyaka region in the Hakkari province on the border with Iran and Iraq, the army said.

The strikes appeared to be in retaliation for a succession of attacks in Turkey on Monday that killed six members of the security forces, which were blamed on the PKK.

Ankara is pressing a two-pronged "anti-terror" offensive against Islamic State (IS) jihadists and PKK militants following a wave of attacks in the country. But, so far, the air strikes have overwhelmingly concentrated on the separatist Kurdish rebels.

Turkish war planes have for over two weeks bombed targets of the PKK in their strongholds in the remote mountains of northern Iraq as well as southeastern Turkey.

Kurdish rebels attacked an infantry brigade command in nearby Sirnak province on Tuesday, seriously wounding a soldier who later died in hospital.

On Monday, nine people, including five police officers, were killed in separate attacks in Istanbul and in the southeastern Sirnak province. The attacks were blamed on the PKK.

Ankara is pressing a two-pronged "anti-terror" offensive against IS jihadists and PKK militants.

However, a small leftist group, the People's Defence Units (HSB), claimed responsibility on its Twitter feed for the killing in clashes in Istanbul of a senior police officer in charge of the city's bomb disposal department.

The outlawed Marxist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) - which the government has on occasion linked to the PKK - claimed another attack in Istanbul, a shooting on the US consulate, which caused no casualties.

At least 48 people have died during the renewed violence that has wrecked an already fragile peace process with the Kurds, including 29 from the security forces.

Turkish warplanes have raided PKK targets in Iraq and in southeast Turkey in tandem with airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria since late July.

The PKK has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeast Turkey. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984.

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