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2 Dead, 31 Wounded in Turkey Attack    08/02 10:27

   ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Kurdish rebels on Sunday detonated an 
explosives-laden agricultural vehicle at a military police station in eastern 
Turkey, killing two soldiers and wounding 31 others, authorities said, amid a 
sharp escalation of violence between the government forces and the 
autonomy-seeking insurgents.

   Militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, used two tons of 
explosives to attack the station on a highway near the town of Dogubayazit in 
Agri province, close to Turkey's border with Iran, causing extensive damage to 
the building, the regional governor's office said in a statement. The military 
said four of the injured soldiers were in serious condition.

   In a separate attack, one soldier was killed and four others were injured 
when their military vehicle hit a land mine believed to have been laid by the 
rebels in the southeastern Mardin province, the local governor's office said 
Sunday.

   Violence has flared in Turkey in the past 10 days, shattering a fragile 
peace process launched in 2012 with the Kurds. The government has conducted 
almost daily airstrikes at PKK bases in northern Iraq while the rebels have 
attacked Turkey's security forces. The airstrikes began as the U.S. and Turkey 
announced the outlines of a deal to help push the Islamic State group back from 
a strip of territory it controls along the Syrian-Turkish border, replacing it 
with more-moderate rebels backed by Washington and Ankara.

   At least 24 people have been killed in the renewed violence in Turkey, most 
of them soldiers.

   Turkey's allies have supported Turkey's fight against the PKK, which they 
consider a terror organization. But they have also urged restraint and a return 
to the peace process. Turkey's campaign against the PKK is complicating the 
U.S. war on IS militants, which has relied heavily on Syrian Kurdish fighters 
affiliated with Turkey's Kurdish rebels.

   Government critics and Kurdish activists accuse the government of reigniting 
the conflict in a bid to win nationalist votes and erode support for the 
country's pro-Kurdish party in possible new elections in the fall.

   Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency has claimed that some 260 rebels were 
killed in the air raids against PKK targets in northern Iraq. The PKK has not 
reported on its casualties. Kurdish activists said, however, that the Turkish 
airstrikes had destroyed at least six homes in the town of Zargel on Saturday, 
killing at least eight civilians and wounding 12.

   The military said Sunday that the area struck was not a village but a PKK 
shelter. It insisted there was no civilian settlement within the targeted 
region.

   Iraq's Kurdish regional government called on the PKK to withdraw from Iraq's 
Kurdish territory to prevent civilian deaths, and it condemned Turkey for 
bombing civilians. The regional government also called on both sides to resume 
peace talks.


(KA)


 
 
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