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Turkey kills 8 Kurdish rebels in new curfew operations: army

kurdish militiaTurkish security forces killed eight Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants as the army launched major operations backed by curfews against the rebels in the troubled southeast, the military said Wednesday.

In the latest escalation of a five-month campaign against the outlawed PKK, the security forces pursued rebels in the southeastern towns of Silvan and Cizre supported by helicopters and tanks.

The authorities also imposed blanket and open-ended curfews in the two towns, the latest in a succession of such measures across the southeast that have angered activists.

Eight militants were “neutralised” after they opened fire on soldiers during the operations in Cizre and Silvan on Tuesday, the army said in a statement, using its customary euphemism for killing rebels.

Pro-Kurdish media claimed a 11-year-old boy had also been killed in the army operation in Cizre. These reports could not be independently verified.

The Turkish government has been waging a relentless offensive aimed at crippling the rebel PKK, which has staged a string of attacks against security forces in Turkey since a two-year-old ceasefire fell apart in late July.

Violence flared amid growing anger over the imposition of curfews that last for days in towns in southeastern Turkey as the security forces battle Kurdish militants who have set up barricades and dug trenches in urban centres.

On Tuesday, three Turkish police officers were killed in a roadside bomb attack on their vehicle blamed on Kurdish rebels in Diyarbakir.

The attack came after two Kurds were shot dead on Monday in violent clashes that erupted over a curfew in the Sur district of southeastern Diyarbakir province that has been in place almost uninterrupted since December 2.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday said the operations would continue until all the militants have been wiped out from these areas, vowing to go after them “neighbourhood by neighbourhood, house by house, street by street.”

“We will turn… every piece of our homeland into an area of peace, stability and freedom,” he said.

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