Turkey: Roadside bomb kills nine on minibus

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A roadside bomb attack killed nine people travelling in a minibus yesterday in the latest violence to shake Turkey's turbulent south-east, where Kurdish guerrillas have been fighting for autonomy for decades.

Four people, including a 15-month-old baby, were injured in the attack near the village of Gecitli in the rugged Hakkari province bordering Iran and Iraq, said the governor, Muammer Turker.

Turkish troops launched an operation to hunt those believed to be behind the attack. The Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, vowed to continue the fight against the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. "These kinds of incidents will not deter us," Mr Erdogan said. "Terrorism has a cost but it will not remain unanswered."

A brief scuffle broke out between Kurdish villagers and soldiers who arrived to investigate, after some villagers allegedly refused to hand over a bag they found, CNN-Turk television said. Soldiers could be seen firing shots into the air while a youth was shown throwing a rock at troops.

Two backpacks, two Russian-made anti-tank mines and plastic explosives were discovered near the scene, Anatolia news agency reported.

On Tuesday, thousands of Kurds attended a funeral for one of nine Kurdish rebels killed in a clash in Hakkari last week. Youths at the funeral threw stones at police, but dispersed after the region's Kurdish mayor intervened.