World Bulletin / News Desk
PKK militants fired rockets at a military convoy in eastern Turkey on Tuesday, killing nine soldiers and wounding more than 60, security sources said, in a further sign that the conflict in the region is deepening.
The convoy was travelling between the provinces of Bingol and Mus when it was hit by a rocket launched by outlawed members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the sources said.
The PKK is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and European Union. It took up arms in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish state in the east of Turkey. The conflict has since killed more than 40,000 people.
Footage aired by Turkey's Dogan news agency on its website showed firefighters around the smouldering shell of a bus on a mountainous road.
Two F-16 fighter jets took off from an air base in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir after the attack, a Reuters witness said. Their destination was unclear.
Recent months have seen some of the deadliest fighting in more than a decade. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday some 500 militants had been "rendered ineffective" - killed, wounded, or captured - in the last month alone.
Fighter jets and attack helicopters have bombarded PKK camps in the southeastern border region with Iraq, and Turkey's chief of staff and other military commanders travelled to the region last week to oversee operations.
Eight police officers were killed on Sunday when a roadside mine exploded in the Karliova district of Bingol and on Saturday suspected PKK militants killed four Turkish soldiers in an attack on a convoy near the border with Iran and Iraq.
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Basho said it will be months before it is safe to enter the town because buildings must be cleared of bombs.
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