Source AP ©

One Turkish soldier killed by Kurds

One Turkish soldier was killed and one wounded in an overnight attack on a Turkish military outpost in southeastern Turkey, officials said.

The attack with automatic weapons occurred near the city of Bitlis and troops were searching for the assailants, local authorities said.

Turkish troops have killed dozens of Kurdish guerrillas in recent operations in the area.

U.S. intelligence reports on the location of Kurdish rebels in the rugged area of southeastern Turkey and the border area with Iraq have helped in the fight against the separatist rebels, a government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking to a group of reporters on Tuesday, said Turkey could still consider staging a cross-border military operation into neighboring Iraq to hunt down Kurdish rebels based there.

The senior government official said Wednesday that Turkey was not planning any unilateral military action but possibly a coordinated effort against the Kurdish guerrillas with the United States.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, who is in Turkey, has reiterated that Washington considers rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, terrorists and has pledged support to Turkey in the fight against terrorism.

Burns was scheduled to meet with Erdogan, whose government won a second mandate in general elections in July, later Wednesday.

Rebels of the PKK have been fighting government forces in Turkey's southeast since 1984. Fighting has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

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