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Car bomb in eastern Turkey wounds nine people - security sources

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - A car bomb wounded nine people in the eastern Turkish province of Tunceli on Monday near a housing block for civil servants working at a local courthouse, security sources said.

Three of the wounded were in critical condition after the blast in the district of Ovacik, the sources said. Television images showed the remains of a vehicle burning on the road and smoke rising from damaged buildings.

Separately, three members of the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were killed in a clash in the centre of Van, a city close to the Iranian border, security sources said. A police officer was hurt in the firefight.

Turkey has suffered a series of bombings over recent months; last week a car bomb ripped through a police bus in central Istanbul near the main tourist district, a major university and the mayor’s office.

An offshoot of the PKK claimed responsibility for that attack. The group has for three decades been waging an armed insurgency for autonomy in largely Kurdish southeast, but are increasingly bombing targets outside the region.

Islamic State, which controls large parts of neighbouring Syria, has also been blamed for suicide bombings, including two in Istanbul this year.

Tunceli is a mainly Kurdish province but lies north of where most of the fighting between the PKK and the security forces has taken place been centred in recent years.

Most of those hurt in Ovacik were civilians, security sources said.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984, and more than 40,000 people, mainly Kurds, have died in the ensuing violence.

A two-year ceasefire collapsed in July, and the conflict is at its deadliest since the 1990s. Thousands of militants and hundreds of members of the security forces have been killed, according to government figures. Opposition political parties say between 500 and 1,000 civilians have also been killed.

Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan; Writing by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Kevin Liffey