9 killed in rebel attack in Turkey

Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz vowed tough response, as the military launched an air and ground offensive in the largely Kurdish Hakkari province where the attack happened, Turkey’s state television reported.

More than 30 Turkish soldiers have died in intensified rebel attacks since July, including one that killed 13 service members in July, leading to a major military offensive in southeastern Turkey.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said armored personnel carriers in the convoy came under rocket fire after being attacked with roadside bombs. The Hakkari governor’s office said the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, detonated four bombs as the unit passed by.

Eight soldiers and a government-paid village guard who was helping troops fight the rebels were killed in the attack that also wounded 11 other soldiers, Erdogan said.

“What is it that they are doing? It’s oppression, it’s threats, it's terrorism,” Yilmaz, the defence minister, told reporters. “The retaliation they will find will be manifold stronger.”

Dismayed that attacks are continuing during Ramzan, Erdogan this week also hinted at tougher military action against the rebels after the end of the month of piety for Muslims, saying Turkey is at the end of its tether.

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