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Nine Turks Killed in Kurdish Rebel Ambush

Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz has vowed a strong retaliation against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) after Kurdish rebels launched a deadly attack on Turkish soldiers in Hakkari province near Turkey's border with Iraq.

The defense minister says eight Turkish soldiers and a village guard were killed Wednesday when their military convoy was ambushed by the PKK rebels in the country's southeast. Four roadside bombs exploded as a Turkish military convoy passed by. Eleven Turkish soldiers were also wounded in the attack.

The renewed violence comes just days after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey's "patience is running out" with the rebels, who have waged a campaign for autonomy in the largely Kurdish southeast since 1984. The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people.

Fighting between Kurdish rebels and the Turkish military has intensified in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, Kurdish rebels attacked a military convoy in southeast Turkey, killing three soldiers and wounding several others. Separately, a battle in July killed 13 Turkish soldiers and seven PKK militants.

Since calling off a cease-fire in February, the PKK has adopted what it calls an "active defense" stance, which allows its fighters to defend themselves if they feel threatened.

Turkey, the United States, and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist group.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.