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Kurdish rebels in deadliest attacks on Turkish army

Kurdish rebels have killed at least 24 Turkish soldiers in eight simultaneous attacks Wednesday, marking one of the deadliest days for the army in the 27-year battle against the separatists.

Turkey hit back with cross-border air strikes on rebel bases and sent troops into neighbouring Iraq as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a foreign trip and called an emergency meeting of top security officials.

The attacks by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) occurred in Cukurca and Yuksekova in Hakkari province near the Iraqi border in the early hours of Wednesday.

The United States and European Union have condemned the attacks.

The PKK said in a statement on Wednesday that it launched the attacks in retaliation for earlier Turkish air strikes against its bases in northern Iraq and the arrest of hundreds of Kurdish politicians around Turkey.

Five rebels were killed in the latest attacks, which wounded 18 other Turkish soldiers.

Several hundred Turkish soldiers have crossed into northern Iraq to confront the PKK , Kurdish news agency Firatnews said.

See BBC’s analysis of Turkey’s Kurdish question here.

See also Reuters analysis here, and fact-box on the PKK here. 

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