Turkish troops trap about 100 separatist Kurdish rebels

Government troops trapped a group of about 100 separatist Kurdish rebels in a rugged region close to Turkey's border with Iraq, after blocking all escape routes across the frontier, Turkey's state-run news agency reported Monday.

Farther north, a soldier was killed after stepping on a land mine believed to have been planted by the rebels in Tunceli province, where the military was waging a separate operation against guerrillas from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, the local governor's office said.

The official Anatolia news agency said troops - which have been shelling mountain passages used by the rebels to escape to bases in Iraq - trapped the group of rebels in the Ikiyaka mountains in Hakkari province that borders Iraq, forcing them to hide in caves.

The military was pressing on with land and air operations in the area, the agency said. Troops, backed by attack helicopters, were also pursuing rebels in Sirnak province, which also borders Iraq, Anatolia reported.

The reports could not immediately be independently verified.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova