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Roadside bomb kills 9 aboard minibus in Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A roadside bomb attack killed nine people traveling on a minibus Thursday, authorities said, in the latest violence to shake Turkey’s turbulent southeast, where Kurdish guerrillas have been fighting for autonomy for decades.
Turkish troops launched an operation to hunt those believed to be behind the attack, which also injured four people, including a 15-month-old baby, near the village of Gecitli in the rugged Hakkari province bordering Iran and Iraq, HakkariGov. Muammer Turker said.
“These kinds of incidents will not deter us,” Mr. Erdogan said after the attack. “Terrorism has a cost but it will not remain unanswered.”
The rebels suggested it may have been the work of forces trying to discredit the group.
Roj Welat, a spokesman for the PKK told the Associated Press: “We have nothing to do with this explosion and we do not target civilians.
In a statement carried by the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency, the group blamed what it called renegade elements within the state that operate clandestinely against perceived enemies and insisted that a unilateral cease-fire it declared would remain in force until Sept. 20.
Kurdish rebels have targeted military vehicles with improvised explosive devices, with the latest such attack on Wednesday in Hakkari province. There have also been several other attacks on police over the past week, which would violate the cease-fire the rebels declared as a pro-Kurdish party called on the government to open dialogue with rebels for a peaceful solution.
The Hakkari governor’s office initially said 10 people were killed in the blast, but later reduced the death toll to nine. It said the mix-up stemmed from the condition of the bodies and that one of the victims had two different names.
A brief scuffle broke out between Kurdish villagers and soldiers who arrived to investigate, after some villagers allegedly refused to hand over a bag they found, CNN-Turk television said. Soldiers could be seen firing shots into the air while a youth was shown throwing a rock at troops.
Two backpacks, two Russian-made anti-tank mines and plastic explosives were discovered near the scene, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.
On Tuesday, thousands of Kurds attended a funeral for one of nine Kurdish rebels killed in a clash in Hakkari last week. Youths at the funeral threw stones at police, but dispersed after the region’s Kurdish mayor intervened, the Anatolia news agency reported.
The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party boycotted a referendum Sunday over the constitution, arguing that ethnic Kurdish identity was not fully recognized by the state.
The party is now backing an initiative for a five-day boycott of schools when they open on Sept. 20 to force the government into allowing Kurdish-language education for Kurdish children. The party’s leader, Selahattin Demirtas, has said he will not send his daughter to school on Monday, prompting an angry reaction from the Education Minister Nimet Cubukcu who accused the politician of “using children for political aims” and said legal action would be taken against the parents.
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