Turkish troops kill 12 Kurdish rebels

Turkey's military says troops have killed 12 Kurdish rebels trying to infiltrate the country from northern Iraq.

The military said in a statement Saturday the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, were killed in two separate incidents that erupted in Sirnak province, near the border with Iraq.

The clashes occurred early Friday and Saturday. The troops were backed by helicopter gunships.

Earlier, the Anatolia news agency reported that a soldier was killed in a land mine explosion, in the neighboring province of Hakkari.

The PKK is believed to have about 4,000 fighters mostly in bases in northern Iraq.

Kurdish rebels are fighting for autonomy in Turkey's southeast. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984.