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5 police officers killed in Turkey clashes

March 22, 2012 at 2:57 PM

SIRNAK, Turkey, March 22 (UPI) -- Clashes between Turkish police and members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in southeastern Turkey left five officers dead, officials said.

Security officials said the officers, part of the police department's special forces unit, were lowered onto Cudi Mountain in Sirnak province, where the fighting began, Today's Zaman reported.

Helicopters had fired on a suspected group of PKK militants before the officers were lowered onto the mountain in the Wednesday clashes, which came amid heightened tensions over the spring festival of Nevruz, marking the Turkish new year.

Today's Zaman said there were reports at least five soldiers were also wounded and military reinforcements had been sent to the area.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement Wednesday Turkey will continue fighting terrorism, which he called a threat to the country's unity and its citizens' security.

Meanwhile, one police officer was wounded Wednesday in an explosion near offices of the Justice and Development Party in Diyarbakır, the biggest city in mainly Kurdish southeastern Turkey, officials said.

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