Kurdish rebels kill two at Turkish police soccer game

TUNCELI, Turkey Mon Sep 5, 2011 1:59am EDT

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TUNCELI, Turkey (Reuters) - Kurdish guerrillas opened fired on a group of Turkish policemen playing football in the eastern city of Tunceli late on Sunday, killing a senior officer and his wife, and wounding eight other police officers, Turkish media reported.

The police were playing at an artificial pitch in the city center when four or five rebels arrived by car and opened fire with long-range rifles.

One rebel was shot dead as police returned fire.

It was the third attack in two days in southeast Turkey, where two soldiers and two village guards also died in separate assaults by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants, amid an heightened level of violence in the region.

Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish guerrilla positions in Iraq on Sunday where PKK fighters operate from camps in the Qandil mountains in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.

Turkey's armed forces have said between 145 to 160 militants were killed in air and artillery strikes on PKK bases in northern Iraq in August.

On Saturday, Turkey's southeastern neighbor Iran said its troops had killed or wounded 30 members of the PJAK (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan), an offshoot of the PKK.

The PKK has said it believes Turkey and Iran are coordinating attacks in the region and says it will join forces with the PJAK in response.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and

is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. More than 40,000 people have died in the separatist insurgency.

The recent wave of cross-border air strikes came after PKK fighters killed more than 40 Turkish security personnel in July.

(Writing by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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