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Turkey blames three deadly attacks in 24 hours on Kurdish rebels

Three soldiers were killed and six others were wounded when a bomb hit a military vehicle in southeastern Turkey on Thursday, the latest incident of bloodshed.

by Tamara Khandaker
Aug 18 2016, 3:00pm

The damaged building of the police headquarters after an explosion in Elazig, eastern Turkey, on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (Sahismail Gezici/DHA via AP)

Three soldiers were killed and six others were wounded when a bomb hit a military vehicle in southeastern Turkey on Thursday, in the third attack on Turkish security forces in 24 hours that officials are blaming on Kurdish rebels.

The vehicle was returning from an operation in the Kurdish majority province of Bitlis. Also on Thursday, a village guard was shot dead and a soldier was injured in nearby Nazar, according to the country's state-run news agency Anadolu. And a car bomb exploded outside police headquarters in Elazig, killing three police officers and wounding 217 people, according to Reuters, although Anadolu pegs the injured at 146.

Two civilians and one police officer also died in another explosion late Wednesday at a police station in the city of Van, with at least 73 others injured, including 20 police officers, Reuters said.

Turkish officials are blaming all the recent attacks on the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), a rebel group that has been fighting for decades for Kurdish independence and has been deemed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union.

"The (PKK) terror group has lost its chain of command. Its elements inside (Turkey) are carrying out suicide attacks randomly wherever they get the opportunity," Yildirim told media in Elazig, according to Reuters.

The PKK, however, has not claimed responsibility.

Thousands have been killed since a peace process crumbled in July 2015, with the PKK amping up its attacks against police and military forces, especially in the southeastern region of the country. While they seemed to have slowed down following a failed military coup in the country on July 15, PKK commander Cemil Bayik warned of a rise in attacks last week.

Addressing the Elazig bombing, Turkish defense minister Fikri Isik told Anadolu news agency that PKK "does not hesitate to kill the people it says it is fighting for."

Follow Tamara Khandaker on Twitter: @anima_tk

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