Twenty-eight Turkish soldiers were wounded and Iranian gas supplies to Turkey interrupted Friday after Kurdish rebels attacked a pipeline linking the two countries, media reports said.
"The terrorists attacked the gas pipeline from Iran near the village of Turkeli, in the (eastern) Eleskirt district, provincial governor Mehmet Tekinarslan told Anatolia news agency, using a term generally applied to members of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
"After the explosion some comrades were wounded by fire," he added. One of the 28 wounded suffered serious burns. The fire from the blast had been extinguished. NTV news channel said that after the attack overnight Thursday Iranian gas supplies through the pipeline were interrupted.
The attack came only five days after natural gas supplies from Iran to Turkey resumed following a six-day interruption due to a blast near the town of Dogubeyazit closer to the Iranian border. The cause of that explosion was not known but the Turkish government generally blames Kurdish rebels seeking independence for such incidents.
About 45,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms for autonomy in Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey in 1984. The outlawed party is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey and its allies.