Kurdish militants attack Turkish convoy, kill 7 soldiers

September 19th, 2012 - 11:11 pm ICT by BNO News  

BİNGÖL, TURKEY (BNO NEWS) — At least ten Turkish soldiers were killed on Tuesday and more than 70 others were injured when suspected Kurdish rebels launched an attack against a military convoy in the eastern region of the country, government officials said on Wednesday.

Bingöl Governor Mustafa Hakan Güvençer said a bus in the convoy, which consisted of five buses and ten armored vehicles, was hit by a rocket at around 12:45 p.m. local time on Tuesday as it was traveling between Bingöl and Muş. Militants who were hiding on the side of the road then opened fire with assault rifles.

The attack triggered a fierce firefight between militants and armed soldiers guarding the convoy, but most of the 200 soldiers in the convoy were unarmed and left trapped when the attack happened. Local authorities said at least 10 soldiers were killed while 70 others were injured, including several who were in a critical condition.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Turkish officials said the attack was likely carried out by militants belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The group is also accused of carrying out a roadside bomb attack in Bingöl on Sunday, killing at least eight police officers.

The PKK, which has been labeled as a terrorist organizations by the United States, Turkey and the European Union, was established in 1984 in its efforts to establish the eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey as an autonomous Kurdish state. Over 40,000 soldiers and civilians have been killed in violent clashes since the group took arms. The PKK maintains its military bases across the Iraqi border.

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