Source AP ©

Germany extradites two Kurdish rebels wanted in Ankara

The Turkish Justice Ministry said Thursday that Germany has extradited two Kurds wanted in Ankara .

Mehmet Iltas and Mehmet Esref Kizilay, both members of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, were jailed upon arrival from Germany, the ministry said in a written statement.

Iltas is blamed for two attacks in 1991 that resulted in the deaths of eight people in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast, according to the statement. The eight were killed in a minibus ambush, the statement said without specifying whether the dead were civilians.

Kizilay was accused of killing a police officer in 1991.

"Intensified efforts and diplomatic undertakings" to get back PKK members who have fled Turkey after staging attacks have "started bearing positive results," the ministry statement said.

The PKK has fought the Turkish government in the country's mountainous southeast since 1984, and tens of thousands have died in the fighting.

A recent surge in PKK attacks has sparked public outrage in Turkey, building up pressure on the government to act.

Some PKK fighters have staged hit-and-run attacks on mostly military targets after infiltrating into Turkey from neighboring Iraq's north. Turkey's political and military leaders have pondered an incursion into northern Iraq, where the PKK has bases, but the U.S. has asked its NATO ally to show restraint.

Earlier this month, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan complained that some European nations have captured leaders of the group only to release them and allow them to return to Iraq.

In July, Ankara formally protested Austria's decision to allow Ali Riza Altun, a wanted rebel allegedly in charge of the PKK's finances in Europe, to fly to northern Iraq instead of being returned to Turkey.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Kurds from Turkey live in Germany, making it the biggest Kurdish community outside the Middle East.

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