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The New Arab

Turkish soldiers killed in alleged Kurdish rebel attack

Five soldiers killed and eight others were injured in the attack [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 10 August, 2016

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Five Turkish soldiers were killed and eight others were injured in a homemade bomb attack blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party on Wednesday.
Five Turkish soldiers were killed when a bomb exploded in the southeast of the country on Wednesday in an attack blamed on Kurdish militants.

Eight other soldiers were injured in the attack that targeted a passing military convoy in Uludere, close to the Iraqi border, a local security source said.

No group has yet claimed the attack, however Turkish authorities blamed it on militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which it has fought since the collapse of a two-year ceasefire in July last year.

More than 600 Turkish security force members were killed in two years of ongoing clashes with the outlawed group, according to a toll given by state-run Anadolu news agency, while over 40,000 people, including civilians, lost their lives since the PKK first took up arms in 1984.

The latest attack comes as Turkish military leadership faces drastic changes since the July 15 failed coup, during which a rogue military faction tried to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power.

Tens of thousands of people from the military, judiciary, and civil service and education sectors have been sacked or detained since July 15, prompting heavy criticism from the West.

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

Around 16,000 were in custody ahead of trial while another 6,000 people were in detention awaiting initial court hearings, Turkish Justice Minister, Bekir Bozdag said.

The mass dismissals have created gaps in state institutions and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Tuesday 25,000 new teachers and police officers would be employed after the purge.

The coup attempt, blamed on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, took place while Erdogan was on a family holiday in southern Turkey and saw both the parliament and the area around the presidential palace bombed from the air.

Turkish authorities warned the United States on Tuesday not to risk sacrificing bilateral ties over the Pennsylvania-based preacher.

Ankara, who has requested Fethullah Gulen be extradited from his US-based home as part of an investigation into the failed coup, said "if the US does not deliver (Gulen), they will sacrifice relations with Turkey for the sake of a terrorist."

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