Eight Turkish soldiers were killed in a car bomb attack on a security post blamed on Kurdish militants in the restive southeast, local media reported, quoting the armed forces.

Five soldiers were also injured in the attack in the southeastern province of Hakkari close to the border with Iraq and Iran, CNN-Turk broadcaster reported. Dogan news agency said militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were responsible for the attack on the security post in Semdinli district.

Security forces had been conducting vehicle searches when the bomb exploded, Dogan reported. The PKK has waged a 32-year insurgency against the Turkish state, which has left nearly 40,000 dead since 1984. The group is proscribed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Since the collapse of a two-and-a-half-year ceasefire last year, more than 600 security forces and over 7,000 PKK militants have been killed, according to the official news agency Anadolu. Attacks against Turkish security forces have continued on an almost daily basis since last July while the government has conducted military operations against the PKK to rid urban areas of fighters in the last 12 months.

The bombing comes after two suspects believed to have been preparing a car bomb attack on the outskirts of the capital Ankara blew themselves up after police ordered them to surrender during an operation on Saturday morning.Turkish officials said there were indications that the two individuals were linked to the PKK.

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