DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: A landmine blamed on Kurdish rebels blew up a minibus in southeast Turkey on Thursday, killing nine people in one of the bloodiest attacks on civilians in recent years.
The blast struck at a delicate moment for Ankara when it is under pressure to reach out to the rebels and cajole them into extending a truce that expires next week.
The device, detonated by remote control, hit the minibus, carrying Kurdish villagers, near Gecitli, a remote village in Hakkari province near the Iraqi border, officials said.
Four people were wounded, among them a 15-month-old baby girl.
Hakkari’s deputy governor Davut Sinanoglu revised the death toll from 10 to nine, saying one victim had been counted twice as the bodies were badly mutilated, Anatolia news agency reported.
Television footage showed the red minibus, reduced to a charred tangle of metal, lying on a road snaking among barren hills as a military helicopter landed and villagers converged at the scene.
Officials pointed an accusing finger at the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has led a bloody 26-year campaign for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast and is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara.