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Roadside bomb kills four in southeast Turkey

The bomb was placed in a manhole and exploded when a police vehicle passed [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 30 May, 2016

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Four people were killed Monday and at least 19 injured in a roadside bomb targeting a police vehicle in the southeastern Turkish town of Silopi, near the border with Iraq.

Four people were killed on Monday in a roadside bomb attack targeting an armoured police vehicle in the mainly Kurdish town of Silopi in Sirnak province, local media reported.

Turkey's Anadolu News Agency said an improvised explosive device had been placed inside a manhole and was detonated as a police vehicle passed by on Monday evening.

Four people were killed by the blast, while 19 others including five police officers were injured according to the agency. Some of the injured were in critical condition.

The police vehicle was patrolling the streets a month after Turkey's security forces ended military operations in Silopi, near the Iraqi border, to flush out Kurdish militants linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and partially lifted a curfew imposed on the town.

The PKK has frequently targeted police and military personnel vehicles with bombs since a cease-fire between the rebels and the government collapsed last summer.

Silopi and several other towns and districts in southeastern Turkey were placed under curfew as Turkey's security forces fought Kurdish militants there.

Hundreds of members of the Turkish security forces have been killed in attacks since then although civilian deaths in the conflict have rarely been confirmed due to limited access to conflict areas.

Earlier on Monday, authorities partially lifted curfews in two more Kurdish areas where the operations caused extensive damage to housing, with the government promising to reconstruct all areas destroyed in the fighting.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said that 6,320 buildings have been damaged amid the fighting in five southeastern towns, affecting about 11,000 apartments.

He put the estimated cost of demolishing and rebuilding the affected structures in the districts of Sur, Silopi, Cizre, Idil and Yuksekova at approximately $289 million.

The curfew was relaxed at 5 am Monday in the Yuksekova district and a village in Hakkari province. A nighttime curfew, however, will remain from 8 pm to 5 am, according to local officials.

The curfew will be loosened further during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, which this year begins in June.

Human rights groups have repeatedly raised concerns over dozens of civilian casualties caused by the military operations against PKK rebels.

Over 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 demanding a homeland for Turkey's biggest minority. Since then, the group has pared back its demands to focus on cultural rights and a measure of autonomy.

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