Turkish soldier killed in base attack in mainly Kurdish southeast

October 4, 2016 1:28 PM EDT

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DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - A Turkish soldier was killed and four were wounded in a rocket attack on a military base in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast on Tuesday, the local governor said, accusing members of the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) of being behind the action.

The military launched an operation and scrambled F16 fighter jets after militants fired rockets at a gendarme outpost near the town of Lice in Diyarbakir province, security sources said.

"An attack has been made by the divisive terrorist organization on military personnel," the Diyarbakir governor's office said in a statement, using terminology regularly used to describe the PKK.

"An aerial operation has been started to neutralize the attackers."

The PKK has repeatedly targeted security forces since it abandoned a two-year ceasefire in July 2015. No representatives of the movement were immediately available to comment.

Turkish authorities have launched a crackdown on perceived enemies within the country since a failed coup on July 15.

As well as detaining around 100,000 civil servants, military personnel, teachers and jurists suspected of links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the coup attempt, the government has tightened its squeeze on Kurdish militia inside the country and in neighboring Syria.

Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, denies any link to the putsch, which has shaken the country and led to the deaths of more than 240 people.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Luke Baker; editing by Ralph Boulton)



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