DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Kurdish militants fired on military vehicles in southeast Turkey on Wednesday, killing two soldiers and wounding another, the local governor’s office said, in the latest of a series of attacks.
Turkey’s armed forces later said its warplanes had carried out air strikes in northern Iraq, killing 10 militants in the Avasin-Basyan and Sinat Haftanin areas and destroying weapon stores and shelters.
The incidents come ahead of nationwide elections on Sunday. There has been a wave of Turkish air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq, especially its stronghold in the Qandil mountain region.
“Members of the separatist terror group carried out a rocket attack in which two military personnel were martyred and one wounded,” the Hakkari provincial governor’s office said, using Ankara’s term for the PKK.
The attack on Wednesday morning targeted military vehicles leaving a hillside base in Cukurca district of the province, on the border with Iraq, it said.
Ankara has warned it might launch a ground offensive into the Qandil region, where high-ranking PKK members are believed to be based. President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to “drain the terror swamp” there.
Erdogan said on Wednesday Turkey had carried out two air operations targeting Qandil, the second of which had struck a meeting of PKK commanders.
“We dealt with a team of their leaders that was meeting in Qandil,” Erdogan said during a campaign rally in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa. He did not provide further details or say when the strikes occurred.
On Tuesday, three Turkish soldiers were killed in bomb attacks blamed on the PKK in the southeastern provinces of Siirt and Sirnak.
More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict since the PKK launched its insurgency in 1984. It is designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and European Union.
Reporting by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan and Andrew Roche