Five children wounded in bomb blast in Turkey’s southeast

The most intense fighting since the 1990s has engulfed Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeastern region since July

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Five children were wounded on Monday when a bomb tore through a street in the Turkish city of Diyarbakir, hospital officials said, where deadly clashes in recent weeks have followed the collapse of a ceasefire by Kurdish militants.

A separate blast in the town of Tatvan wounded five soldiers when their vehicle passed over an explosive left in a ditch by the road, security sources said.

The most intense fighting since the 1990s has engulfed Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeastern region since July when the state launched air strikes against the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey and Iraq. More than 100 security personnel and hundreds of militants have been killed.

The military released footage it said showed guided-missile strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq that it carried out on Sept 25 and 26, state-run broadcaster TRT said.

It destroyed shelters in which the rebels had sought refuge from the strikes, as well as weapon stores, killing more than 20 PKK members, TRT reported.

Iraqi Kurdish leaders and the central government in Baghdad have criticised such strikes on their territory in the past.

The children were hurt in Diyarbakir’s historic district of Sur, scene of recent street clashes between security forces and the PKK. A hospital official said the blast was caused by a bomb but did not elaborate.

Diyarbakir is the largest city in southeastern Turkey, home to most of the country’s 15 million Kurds.

Authorities have sporadically imposed a curfew in Sur, a narrow warren of streets where vehicles cannot pass. It is also home to historic churches and mosques and a Roman-era fortress.

The PKK, listed by the United States, Turkey and the European Union as a terrorist group, has waged an armed campaign for greater autonomy since 1984, but peace talks that began in 2012 had brought relative peace to the southeast.

The government has accused the PKK of using the 2-1/2 year truce to stockpile guns, while the opposition has said the government ended the peace process after a pro-Kurdish party won enough votes in June to enter parliament and deprive the ruling AK Party of a majority.

The AKP failed to find a coalition partner and a new vote is scheduled for Nov. 1.

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