ISTANBUL, Turkey – Three separate bomb attacks have ripped through Turkey’s troubled southeastern region, leaving a total of 44 soldiers, police officers and civilians dead and wounded.
The first bombing hit a police vehicle near a hospital in the district of Kiziltepe in Mardin province on Wednesday.
According to an unnamed Turkish official, at least 25 police officers and civilians sustained injuries in the assault, which caused considerable damage to nearby buildings and vehicles. Three civilians also died in the bombing.
Turkish sources blamed the incident on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since 1984.
In a near simultaneous blast, which was also blamed on the PKK, a car bomb exploded in Diyarbakir, the capital of the province with the same name, killing at least four civilians, the Dogan news agency reported.
In the third similar incident earlier on Wednesday, five Turkish soldiers were killed and eight others injured after a homemade bomb exploded while a military convoy was passing in Sirnak province’s Uludere district, situated close to the Iraqi border.
The Turkish government further held the PKK responsible for the attack.
Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale anti-PKK campaign in its southern border region over the past few months. The Turkish military has also been pounding the group’s positions in northern Iraq as well in breach of the Arab country’s sovereignty.
Turkey’s operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in Suruc, which the Turkish government blamed on the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
After the bombing, the PKK militants, who accuse Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, prompting the Turkish military operations.
A shaky ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK that had stood since 2013 was declared null and void by the militants following the Turkish strikes against the group.
According to the latest toll provided by the state-run Anadolu news agency in July, more than 600 Turkish security force members and over 7,000 PKK militants have been killed since the collapse of the truce.