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Kurdish rebel ambush kills 12, Turkey says

Kurdish rebels ambushed a minibus carrying pro-government village guards and civilians in southeastern Turkey and killed 12 people on Saturday, a local official said.

Kurdish rebels ambushed a minibus carrying pro-government village guards and civilians in southeastern Turkey and killed 12 people on Saturday, a local official said.

The rebels, armed with machine guns, attacked the minibus in Sirnak province near the border with Iraq, killing seven guards and five civilians, Gov. Selahattin Apari said. Two people were injured but it was not clear whether they were village guards or civilians.

The ambush came a day after Turkey and Iraq signed an agreement to co-operate in cracking down on separatist Kurdish rebels who have been attacking Turkey from bases in Iraq.

Despite Ankara's insistence, Iraq refused to allow Turkey to send its troops across the border to chase the Kurdish rebels.

Turkey has considered a cross-border military operation to root out the members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, holed up in the mountainous areas of northern Iraq. However, the United States — a close ally of Ankara — has objected to such a move, fearing it could destabilize a relatively calm part of Iraq.

Kurdish lawmakers in Iraq also oppose any military move by Turkey across the border.

The PKK has been labelled a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the
European Union. The group has been fighting for autonomy since 1984;
tens of thousands have been killed in the conflict.