Kurdish militants kill three Turkish militia members: sources

September 29, 2016 2:45 AM EDT

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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Kurdish militants killed three members of a state-backed militia in a firefight in southeastern Turkey on Thursday, security sources said.

Members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fired on a "village guard" unit patrolling a rural area of Hakkari province, which borders Iraq and Iran, the sources said.

Village guards are local residents who are armed and funded by the state and sometimes fight alongside security forces in their battle against the autonomy-seeking PKK, which took up arms in 1984.

A ceasefire in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast collapsed last year, and thousand of rebels, soldiers and police and civilians have died in the ensuing violence.

(Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley)

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