DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish soldiers killed five Kurdish militants on Friday suspected of involvement in the assassination this week of a politician from the ruling AK Party, security sources said, amid surging violence in the largely Kurdish southeast.
The military operation in rural Semdinli, part of Hakkari province close to the borders with Iran and Iraq, targeted the suspected killers of Ahmet Budak, an AKP politician who was gunned down in front of his house on Wednesday.
Three of the suspected PKK militants were killed by artillery fire in one part of Semdinli, while the other two were killed close by, the security sources said, without giving further details on the operation.
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Southeastern Turkey has seen a surge in violence since the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, which has waged a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy in the region, abandoned a ceasefire in 2015. Thousands of militants, security force members and civilians have since been killed.
Late on Thursday, suspected PKK members killed seven village guards, two soldiers and a civilian in the eastern province of Agri, north of Hakkari, the military said.
The Agri governor's office said the militants had attacked the village guards - residents armed and paid by the state to protect their communities - with long-range rifles as they were on night watch duties.
The PKK is considered a terrorist group by the United States and European Union, as well as by Turkey.
(Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Gareth Jones)