Bomb blast wounds three at governor's office in southeast Turkey

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - A bomb exploded outside the district governor’s office in the southeastern Turkish province of Mardin on Thursday and wounded three people including the governor, the provincial governor’s office said in a statement.

District governor Muhammed Fatih Safiturk, who suffered second-degree burns, was appointed additionally in July to run the local municipality as part of a series of moves to replace officials from the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), a sister party of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

The government accuses the HDP, parliament’s second biggest opposition party, of links to the outlawed rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is fighting for autonomy in largely Kurdish southeast Turkey. The HDP denies any direct links and says it is working for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

There was no claim of responsibility for Thursday’s attack but the PKK often carries out bomb and rocket attacks in the southeast, where violence has raged since a two-year-old PKK ceasefire collapsed in July last year.

Last week, a car bomb in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir killed 11 people and wounded at least 100, hours after authorities detained the HDP’s leaders and some of its members of parliament.

Three Turkish guards and one civilian were killed on Wednesday when Kurdish militants attacked a guard vehicle in the southeastern province of Van with long-range rifles as it was heading to the Baskale district, bordering Iran.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict since the PKK took up arms in 1984. It is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

The Interior Ministry said on Thursday that 201 PKK militants had been killed and almost 300 others injured or captured in some 8,000 ground and air operations since September. Around 1,800 people have also been detained for aiding the PKK, the statement said.

Writing by Daren Butler and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Kevin Liffey