Twin PKK bomb attacks kill eight in southeast Turkey

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At least eight people, mostly civilians, were killed on Wednesday in two separate bomb attacks targeting police blamed on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in Turkey’s southeast, officials said.

Five people, all civilians, were killed in a car bomb attack in the centre of the city of Diyarbakir, the regional governor’s office said in a statement. Twelve people were wounded including five police, it added.

Another three people — two civilians and one policeman — lost their lives in a near-simultaneous car bombing in Kiziltepe in Mardin province to the south, said Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan, quoted by the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Fifteen civilians were wounded in the attack which took place close to the town’s hospital, he added.

Both bomb attacks had been aimed at passing police vehicles but ended up killing mainly civilians.

Pictures showed the force of the explosion caused considerable damage to nearby buildings and vehicles in the Mardin bombing.

The authorities believe both blasts have been carried out by the PKK, a Turkish official said.

Hundreds of members of the Turkish security forces have been killed by the PKK in attacks since the collapse of a two-year ceasefire in July last year.

Earlier Wednesday, five Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack blamed on PKK militants in Uludere in the southeastern Sirnak province close to the Iraqi border. Eight other soldiers were wounded.

Over 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK first took up arms in 1984. It is proscribed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

The PKK has kept up attacks after the July 15 failed coup during which a rogue military faction tried to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power.

The government has vowed there will be no let-up in the fight against the PKK even in the wake of the coup.

The Turkish army’s hierarchy has been badly hit in the purge since the coup, with top generals accused of complicity in the plot.

Nearly half of all generals have been imprisoned or dismissed, raising concerns about the coordination of the fight against Kurdish rebels.

More than 600 Turkish security force members have been killed by the PKK since the collapse of a ceasefire last year, according to a toll given by Anadolu on July 31.

The government has responded with military operations against the group, killing more than 7,000 militants in Turkey and northern Iraq, the agency said. It is not possible to independently verify the toll.

Activists claim innocent civilians have also been killed in the offensive and have accused the military of using excessive force in attempts to uproot the PKK from urban centres.