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Turkish military confirms 8 soldiers missing
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19:50, October 22, 2007

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The Turkish miliary confirmed on Monday that eight soldiers were missing after Sunday's deadly clashes with militants of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey.

The army said troops had been searching for those missing but failed to make contact with the eight soldiers, who disappeared shortly after an early Sunday morning attack staged by PKK militants against a military unit in Daglica region in southeastern province of Hakkari.

The PKK attack killed 12 Turkish soldiers and wounded 16 others, prompting Turkey to launch a retaliation offensive, which has killed 34 PKK militants so far, according to the military.

The confirmation came after one-day silence by the Turkish military over media reports of soldiers being kidnapped.

On Sunday, the PKK-related news agency Firat reported that PKK militants had also seized some Turkish soldiers as hostages in the attack. But the report then didn't disclose the exact number.

Earlier on Monday, the news agency released on its website the names of seven Turkish soldiers who it said were seized by PKK militants. It also said an eighth soldier was also in PKK's hands but didn't give his name.

The PKK's attack and Turkey's response came five days after the Turkish parliament approved a motion backing the cross-border military operations targeting the PKK based in northern Iraq.

In the last several months, PKK militants have increased its attacks on Turkish troops in southeastern Turkey, which leads to rising Turkish demands for an incursion into northern Iraq to crush the rebels.

The group, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U. S. and the EU, launched an armed campaign for an ethnic homeland in the mainly Kurdish southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking decades of strife that has claimed more than 30,000 lives.

Source: Xinhua



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