9 Kurdish Rebels, 3 Turkish Soldiers Killed in Clashes

Clashes between Turkish troops and Kurdish rebels have left nine rebels and three soldiers dead in the country's southeast, the military announced on Tuesday.

The clashes took place on Monday in the southeastern province of Sirnak, bordering Iraq, the military said in a statement. Five soldiers were also wounded in the clashes, it said.

Earlier, the private Dogan news agency reported that 10 soldiers were wounded.

The fighting followed an attack by Turkish artillery units and warplanes on Kurdish rebel positions in northern Iraq late last week that Turkey's military said killed at least 15 rebels.

Turkey is fighting the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, which uses bases in the north of neighboring Iraq to launch attacks against targets inside Turkey.

Turkey, like the EU and the U.S., considers the PKK a terrorist organization.

Saturday's statement confirmed the first cross-border action by the military since its eight-day ground incursion, which ended Feb. 29. The U.S. has been sharing intelligence on the rebels with NATO-ally Turkey since November.

The PKK took up arms against the government in 1984, and tens of thousands of people have been killed in the fighting.