Kurdish militants wound Turkish soldiers in outpost attack

TUNCELI, Turkey Fri May 16, 2014 7:13am EDT

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TUNCELI, Turkey (Reuters) - Kurdish fighters attacked a military outpost in eastern Turkey on Friday, wounding two soldiers, security sources said, in a rare outbreak of violence 14 months after the militants' leader declared a ceasefire as part of a peace process.

It was unclear how many fighters were involved or whether it marked an end to the ceasefire.

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants armed with rifles attacked troops guarding the construction of the new outpost in the province of Tunceli, triggering retaliatory fire, the sources said.

Military helicopters landed reinforcements in the area and sporadic clashes continued for several hours, they said. The wounded soldiers were taken to hospital in neighboring Elazig province for treatment.

There was no immediate comment from the PKK.

A soldier was killed by an explosive device in southeast Turkey in March, the first such death since the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan called on his fighters to halt hostilities last year.

The PKK took up arms in 1984 in a bid to carve out an ethnic homeland, but it has since scaled back its demands to greater political and cultural rights for Turkey's estimated 15 million Kurds.

Ocalan, a prisoner on an island near Istanbul, and Turkish authorities began negotiations in late 2012 in an effort to end a conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people, mainly Kurds, in three decades.

(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Jonny Hogg and Pravin Char)

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