'Kurdish militant bomb attack kills three Turkish police officers'

 Kurdish militants detonated a roadside bomb in southeast Turkey overnight, killing three police officers in an armoured vehicle while a rocket attack knocked out power in part of the region`s main city, security sources said on Monday.

Reuters| Last Updated: Jan 18, 2016, 15:36 PM IST

Diyarbakir: Kurdish militants detonated a roadside bomb in southeast Turkey overnight, killing three police officers in an armoured vehicle while a rocket attack knocked out power in part of the region`s main city, security sources said on Monday.

The mainly Kurdish southeast has been hit by daily violence since a 2013 ceasefire with Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels crumbled in July, reviving a 31-year conflict that has killed 40,000 people.

Sunday night`s bomb ripped the armoured vehicle apart at 11:30 p.m. (2130 GMT) near the municipality building in the town of Idil, in Sirnak province near the Syrian border, the sources said. Seven police officers were hurt and three died of their wounds in hospital.

PKK fighters simultaneously attacked a local military base with rocket launchers and rifles, causing no casualties, sources said. Reinforcements were sent to the town from neighbouring Cizre and clashes were continuing in the area.

In the region`s largest city, Diyarbakir, PKK militants fired a rocket launcher at a police armoured vehicle around 00:30 a.m. (2230 GMT) but missed, instead hitting a transformer that triggered a blast which cut off power supplies in the area, sources said.

The PKK, which says it is fighting for autonomy for Turkey`s Kurds, took up arms against the state in 1984. It is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union.
Ankara launched a peace process with the PKK`s jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan in late 2012, but it ground to a halt early in 2015 and Turkey`s leaders have vowed to continue operations until the militants are defeated. 

For much of the insurgency, fighting has stayed largely in the countryside, but the latest violence has focused on urban areas, where the PKK youth wing has set up barricades and dug trenches to keep out security forces.

The towns of Cizre and Silopi, further east of Idil in Sirnak province, have been under round-the-clock curfew since Dec. 14 as security forces battle Kurdish fighters there. 

Turkey`s army says it has killed 320 militants in Cizre, 135 in Silopi and 101 in the Sur district of Diyarbakir city since operations began last month. The pro-Kurdish HDP party says some 100 civilians have been killed in these areas.