Turkish warplanes strike Kurdish targets following PKK deadliest attack
Several Turkish soldiers were killed and more wounded in a major attack in Turkey's southeast carried out by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants, the military said Monday.
Military officials were tight-lipped about the scale of the death toll, but the army said the militants struck two military vehicles in a convoy in Daglica district of Hakkari - a known stronghold of the Kurdish militants - had killed several soldiers and wounded others.
Hurriyet claimed at least 19 Turkish soldiers, including one lieutenant colonel, had been killed which - if confirmed - would make the attack by far the deadliest carried out by the PKK on the army in recent years.
The newspaper also said that unconfirmed reports suggest that the PKK also captured a number of Turkish troops.
It said that 400 kilogrammes of explosives had been used in the attack and some 150 PKK militants had taken part, leading to clashes that lasted some seven hours.
"Turkey in is mourning," said the newspaper.
Turkish warplanes were immediately scrambled to strike PKK targets in southeast Turkey in retaliation, marking a further intensification in the latest flare-up of the decades-long conflict.
In a sign of the gravity of the attack on Sunday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu broke off a trip to Konya to watch a national football game and summoned an emergency security meeting in Ankara, the official Anatolia agency said.
The army said the PKK attack on "two of our armoured vehicles were severely damaged by improvised explosive devices left on the road," the army said.
"Some of our brave soldiers were killed and others injured as a result of the explosion," the army added.
Two Turkish F-4 and two F-16 warplanes were deployed to carry out strikes in a "heavy air campaign" against 13 targets controlled by the militants in retaliation, it added.
Many "terrorists" were killed in the air strikes, Anatolia said, without giving a precise toll.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was "very sad" about the attack on the soldiers, telling the A-Haber channel in a live television interview, "A mine attack has been staged. There will be a very particular and decisive fight there".
He added the attack happened during a "clean-up operation" against PKK militants.