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Turkish Troops Kill Six Kurdish Rebels Near Border With Iraq

The Turkish army says its soldiers killed six Kurdish rebels during a clash near the border with Iraq.

One Turkish officer also was killed during the fighting.

The army said the rebels - who included four women and two men - were killed in the southeastern province of Sirnak Tuesday.

Officials say the rebels were part of a group responsible for an ambush that killed 13 soldiers in Sirnak on October 7.

Ankara accuses rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, of using bases in northern Iraq to launch deadly attacks in southeastern Turkey.

Turkey has massed tens of thousands of troops along the Iraqi border in preparation for a possible military strike against the rebels.

Separately, the commander of U.S. forces in Europe, General Bantz Craddock, says the rebels are employing tactics similar to those used by insurgents. He said Turkey should focus on counterinsurgency measures, including ways to deal with the disputes that are fueling the conflict.

General Craddock told reporters in Washington Tuesday that a comprehensive approach that includes military forces and a campaign to win "hearts and minds" is beneficial. He added that Turkey is employing some non-military tactics in northern Iraq.

The PKK has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984. More than 30,000 people have died in the conflict.

Last month, Turkey's parliament approved a resolution giving the government the authority to order a cross-border military operation against PKK militants in Iraq.

The United States and Iraq have urged Turkey not to launch a cross-border incursion into northern Iraq, fearing it could destabilize the relatively peaceful region.