Kurdish rebels kill 4 Turkish soldiers, wound 7 in attack on military outpost

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Kurdish rebels killed four Turkish soldiers and wounded seven others in eastern Turkey in the largest attack on troops in several months, authorities said Saturday.

The rebels attacked a remote military outpost with rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons in foggy weather late Friday, private CNN-Turk and NTV televisions said. The commander of the outpost was killed along with three other soldiers, authorities said. Two of the seven wounded were in serious condition, according to media reports.

Turkish troops launched a man hunt but helicopter gunships remained grounded due to fog near the outpost, close to the town of Nazimiye in the eastern Tunceli province, television reports said Saturday morning.

The attack followed a surge in violence by autonomy-seeking rebels. Another Turkish soldier was killed when he stepped on a mine believed to be planted by the rebels near the town of Cukurca in southeastern Hakkari province on Friday, authorities said.

The violence has picked up since a high court shut down pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party over ties to the rebels in December and after a Turkish nationalist punched the now-banned party leader, Ahmet Turk, earlier this month.

The party's closure have sparked violent street demonstrations in several towns and cities across Turkey and threatened to derail the government's hopes to reconcile with minority Kurds.

Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin on Saturday said the latest attack was aimed at the government's intensified efforts to end terrorism.

The guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, have been fighting for autonomy in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast for more than two decades. The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people.

Turkish Kurd rebels often cross back and forth from bases in Iraq, using remote, mountain passes that are difficult to monitor.