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Three killed in Turkey clashes: security sources

18 July, 2008

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (AFP) - Two Kurdish rebels and a soldier were killed overnight in fighting in southeast Turkey, security sources said Friday.

The clashes erupted in the mountains of Bingol province as soldiers patrolling the area came upon a group of militants from the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the sources said.

The operation in the region was continuing Friday to hunt down militants who managed to escape, they said.

The army has since last week intensified its crackdown on the PKK in the southeast, confirming killing 33 rebels in regions close to the Iraqi border.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, has waged a bloody campaign for self-rule in the Kurdish-majority east and southeast since 1984. The conflict has claimed more than 37,000 lives.

The Turkish military has stepped up action against the PKK since December, conducting air strikes and a week-long ground offensive in northern Iraq, where the rebels take refuge.

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