Seven Turkish soldiers were killed on Thursday in an attack caused by an improvised explosive device in southeastern Turkey blamed on “terrorists,” the provincial governor said.
Another five soldiers were injured in the explosion as their military vehicle was passing through the Gercus district of Batman province, the governorate said in a statement on Thursday, October 4.
Update: Three of the injured soldiers died in the hospital, bringing the death toll to seven, Turkey’s official Anadolu Agency reported citing a health official.
The governor blamed the attack on “terrorists” and said a wide operation had been launched to capture the culprits.
Although the governor’s office did not explicitly blame the attack on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. A ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK broke down in 2015.
It is banned as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Separately on Thursday, Turkey’s Interior Ministry said a wanted PKK member codenamed Cuma Mardin was “neutralized” in an airstrike in the Nusaybin district of Mardin province on September 6, Anadolu reported.
Turkish officials often use the word neutralized to refer to people being killed or captured.
Mardin was in in the red category, the highest of the Interior Ministry’s most-wanted list, Anadolu said.
In August, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said it carried out an operation in Sinjar that neutralized “İsmail Özden, codenamed Mam Zeki Sengali,” the PKK “executive council member” responsible for northern Iraq.
This story was updated on October 4 at 1100 GMT to update the death toll and add background information.
With reporting from AFP