Kurdish rebels attack military convoy

September 18, 2012 - 2:35 PM

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Suspected Kurdish rebels attacked a military convoy in the southeastern province of Bingol with a rocket Tuesday, killing 10 soldiers and wounding more than 70, officials said. It was the second attack on a military vehicle in the region this week.

The convoy, which included a vehicle carrying unarmed conscripts traveling to join their units, was hit on a highway in Bingol, where the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, are active. Cevdet Yilmaz, the Turkish minister for development, said around 70 soldiers were wounded in the attack.

On Sunday, suspected Kurdish rebels detonated a roadside bomb in Bingol, killing eight police officers.

Private NTV television said the military launched an offensive in Bingol after Tuesday's attack and that police are searching for a vehicle believed to be carrying the assailants.

There has been a surge of fighting in recent months between Turkish security forces and the PKK rebels, who are seeking self-rule in southeast Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that as many as 500 Kurdish rebels have been killed or captured in fighting in the past month, and he again urged the PKK to lay down their arms.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since the rebel group — considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and its Western allies — took up arms in 1984.