DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) – Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants launched a rocket attack on military vehicles on Wednesday, killing two soldiers and wounding another, the local governor’s office said, the latest in a series of attacks in southeast Turkey this week.
The attacks come ahead of nationwide elections on Sunday and coincide with an upswing in Turkish air strikes targeting PKK bases in northern Iraq, notably its stronghold in the Qandil mountain region.
Ankara has recently stepped up warnings of a potential ground offensive into the Qandil region, where high-ranking PKK members are believed to be located. President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to “drain the terror swamp” there.
“Members of the separatist terror group carried out a rocket attack in which two military personnel were martyred and one wounded,” the Hakkari provincial governor’s office said, using Ankara’s term for the PKK.
The attack on Wednesday morning targeted military vehicles leaving a hillside base in Hakkari’s Cukurca district, on the border with Iraq, it said.
On Tuesday, a total of three Turkish soldiers were killed in bomb attacks blamed on the PKK in the southeastern provinces of Siirt and Sirnak.
More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict since the PKK launched its insurgency in 1984. It is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and European Union.