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Turkish soldier killed in clash with rebels

State-run television says Kurdish rebels have killed a soldier in a clash in southeast Turkey, prompting the military to launch a large-scale offensive in the area.

TRT television said the soldier was killed in fighting in Sirnak province, which borders Iraq, on Sunday.

The rebel group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack in central Turkey two days ago that killed a policeman and wounded 17 people.

Firat News, an agency close to the PKK, said Saturday the May 25 bombing was carried out in retaliation for a botched Turkish military airstrike in December that was aimed at the rebels but killed 34 civilians instead.

The PKK is fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey. Tens of thousands have died since it took up arms in 1984.