Three Turkish soldiers killed in mine blast in southeast

17:15, March 30, 2010      

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Three soldiers of the Turkish security forces were killed and two others wounded in a land mine blast in southeast Turkey on Tuesday, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

The mine blast occurred while the Turkish security forces were conducting a field search around Hantepe region of Cukurca town of Hakkari province, according to the report.

The wounded soldiers were taken in a helicopter to the Hakkari Military Hospital, said the report.

The Turkish security forces began a wide-scale air and land operation in the region.

The land mines are widely believed to be planted by the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in east and southeast Turkey.

Listed as a terrorist group by the United States, the United Nations and the European Union, the PKK had been seeking to set up a Kurdistan state in Turkey's predominately Kurdish southeast.

The PKK began to fight the Turkish state in 1978, and some 40, 000 people have been killed in the 30-year-old conflict.

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