Turkish Separatist Clashes Increase

Twelve Kurdish rebels and five members of the Turkish security forces were killed in violent clashes in the southeast of the country following two separate Kurdish attacks, the army said Thursday. Fighting erupted overnight Thursday after rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), armed with rockets and assault rifles, attacked a military unit in a rural area near Dogan village in Siirt province. Four soldiers were wounded in the initial fire and two later died in hospital, the general staff said in a statement on its website. PKK rebels also launched a simultaneous attack against a group of village guards -- Kurdish militia armed and paid by the government to fight the rebels -- securing a road near the village, killing three of them. Twelve PKK rebels were killed in the ensuing operation backed by artillery fire and helicopter gunships, the statement added. The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community, has stepped up attacks on Turkish