12 killed in Turkey ambush


Twelve people, including seven village guards, were killed yesterday when Kurdish rebels ambushed their minibus in southeast Turkey, Turkish military officials said.

The attack came a day after Turkey signed an anti-terror agreement with Iraq in a bid to put a halt to Kurdish guerrilla attacks on Turkey from neighboring Iraqi territory.

The military officials said guerrillas from the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) ambushed the vehicle as 14 people returned to their village in Sirnak province near the border with Iraq.

They ordered the passengers out of the vehicle and gunned them down with automatic weapons, killing 12. Two people were injured.

The governor's office in Sirnak said in a statement that an operation had been launched to capture those responsible.

Sirnak Governor Selahattin Apari said on CNN Turk television that those killed in the attack included a senior village official. The other casualties were all his relatives.

The attack follows the killing of a senior PKK militant during a military operation in the region. The village guards who were killed had been taking part in the operation which began in mid-September.

Turkish security sources said on Friday 20 guerrillas had been killed during the offensive in Sirnak in the past 15 days.