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Ten die in minibus blast in southeast Turkey

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - A roadside bomb killed 10 people and wounded three when it exploded under their minibus in a region of southeast Turkey where Kurdish militants are active, security officials said.

The blast occurred near the village of Gecitli in Hakkari province, near the borders with Iraq and Iran. The security officials said the explosion was caused by a remote-controlled explosive device, though a mayor said it was a landmine.

A 15-month-old baby was among the injured, Turkish media said.

Roadside bombs have become a favoured mode of attack for separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants.

However, they usually target security forces and a spokesman for the group denied that the People’s Defence Forces (HPG), the PKK’s military wing, was behind the attack.

The HPG had nothing to do with this,” said Roj Welat, a spokesman for the PKK in northern Iraq.

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The PKK declared a cease-fire last month, which is not due to expire until September 20.

It has not yet said whether it will extend the truce, which it called during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and ahead of a September 12 referendum on constitutional reforms.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would be unswerving in its fight against terrorism.

“Terrorism exacts a certain price but this will not go unanswered,” the prime minister said in the wake of the attack.

Before the cease-fire there had been a surge in violence between the military and the rebels since June when the PKK ended a previous 14-month unilateral cease-fire.

Several thousand PKK guerrillas are based in the mountains of northern Iraq, from where they regularly launch cross-border raids.

The group took up arms against Turkey in 1984. More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died in the fighting.

Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan and Ayla Jean Yackley; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton