Six soldiers and one civilian were killed when a bomb apparently targeting a military convoy exploded in southeastern Turkey on Tuesday, hospital sources said. The powerful blast in the centre of Tunceli city destroyed a military vehicle and hit another civilian vehicle, local security sources told AFP.
The local governor's office said "seven people lost their lives according to initial findings and one was injured," cited by the Anatolia news agency. But it would not say how many of them were soldiers.
The private NTV television network reported that the explosion caused panic among local residents, and many ambulances were rushing to the scene.
It was not known who set off the bomb and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The blast follows an escalation of Kurdish rebel attacks targeting Turkey's security forces in the southeast, triggering full-fledged military operations in the region. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that 500 Kurdish rebels had been killed over the past month.
Security forces are frequent targets of attacks launched by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community.
Last Tuesday, 10 Turkish soldiers were killed and 70 wounded in a rocket assault by Kurdish rebels on their military convoy in southeastern Bingol province.
The PKK took up arms in the southeast in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives.