Girl killed, five wounded by militant rocket in Turkey

Masked members of YDG-H, youth wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), sit next to their weapons in Silvan, near the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey. (Reuters)

A 9-year-old girl was killed and five people were wounded when a rocket fired by Kurdish militants hit a house in Diyarbakir province in southeastern Turkey on Sunday, the local governor's office said.

The Kurdish insurgents had targeted an armoured police vehicle but instead struck a three-storey house in the mainly Kurdish town of Bismil, it said.

The governor's office also said two Kurdish militants were killed in the city of Diyarbakir in what appeared to be a separate incident.

Southeast Turkey has been scorched by deadly fighting between security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) since the end of a two-year-long ceasefire in July.

At least 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK - recognised as a terrorist organisation by the United States, Turkey and the European Union - launched its insurgency for greater Kurdish autonomy in 1984.

The escalating bloodshed in the mainly Kurdish southeast has worsened political tensions ahead of a snap Nov. 1 parliamentary election, with President Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AK Party accusing pro-Kurdish lawmakers of being PKK sympathisers.

It has also complicated the relationship between NATO member Turkey and Washington, which sees a related Kurdish militia in Syria as its chief ally in fighting Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The United States has said it does not consider the Syrian Kurdish forces to be a terrorist organisation. The issue is likely to be raised by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who is now in the United States for a United Nations General Assembly meeting this coming week.

Turkey has also joined in the fight against ISIS, launching air strikes into northern Syria and opening its air bases to the U.S.-led coalition.

However, most of its focus has been on the PKK, raising suspicions of government critics that Ankara's real reason for joining the fight against ISIS was to crack down on the Kurdish opposition ahead of the Nov.1 election re-run.

At a dinner in New York on Friday, Davutoglu said Turkey had "broken the back of terrorist threats" with its recent operations, according to local media reports.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45