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At least seven soldiers killed in Turkish city of Tunceli

AT least seven soldiers were killed in the eastern Turkish city of Tunceli on Tuesday when their armoured truck drove past a vehicle laden with explosives detonated by suspected Kurdish militants, security sources said.

Ambulances rushed to the scene of the explosion as flames rose from two vehicles on a road through a thinly populated part of the provincial city.

Militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, have carried out a wave of attacks on military targets in recent months, stepping up their 28-year-old armed campaign.

The recent fighting has been some of the heaviest since the PKK took up arms in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish state.

PKK fighters killed 10 soldiers and wounded at least 60 last Tuesday when they fired rockets at a military convoy travelling between the provinces of Bingol and Mus, also in eastern Turkey.

Fighter jets and attack helicopters have been bombarding PKK camps in the southeastern border region with Iraq in recent weeks. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has hampered development in one of Turkey's poorest corners and worsened instability in a region bordering Iran, Iraq and Syria.