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Turkish soldiers killed in PKK ambush in southeast: Army

Officials say military convoy in Van province was hit by roadside bomb while en route to where several vehicles had been set on fire
A Turkish army armed vehicle patrols as Kurdish people celebrate the birthday of jailed Kurdish Worker Party's (PKK) founder Abdullah Ocalan (AFP)

Six soldiers were killed and two others wounded when a bomb hit a military convoy in southeast Turkey on Tuesday, the army said, blaming Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants for the attack.

The armoured vehicle carrying the soldiers "was hit by a roadside bomb that was hidden" at the edge of a road in Van province, the army said in a statement.

A military official confirmed the attack to AFP, adding that the soldiers had been on their way to the scene of a dozen vehicles set on fire by PKK members when their convoy was hit.

After the bombing, the convoy was hit by several rockets, the official said on condition of anonymity, suggesting the soldiers may have fallen victim to a trap. 

The army launched an aerial operation after the attack, the army said.

Turkey has been waging an offensive against the PKK in the Kurdish-majority southeast following the collapse of a two-year ceasefire in summer 2015.

Since then, hundreds of members of the Turkish security forces have been killed in attacks, but civilian deaths have rarely been confirmed. Thousands of people have fled the fighting.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed no let up in the operation and new Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, unveiling his programme for government on Tuesday, vowed to prioritise the fight against the PKK.

"We will pursue with determination the fight against the separatist terrorist organisation," he said.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 demanding a homeland for Turkey's biggest minority.

The group is regarded as a terrorist organisation by Ankara and by organisations and countries including NATO, the US and the European Union.

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