Turkey: 8 soldiers killed by roadside bomb

Story highlights

  • Roadside bomb kills 8 soldiers in southeastern Turkey's Siirt province
  • In Istanbul, 2 carrying automatic weapons arrested follow gunfire reported near police station
  • No injuries or deaths immediately reported in Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey (CNN)Eight soldiers were killed Wednesday afternoon by a roadside bomb attack blamed on the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or the PKK, the Turkish military said.

The soldiers were traveling in an armored vehicle in southeastern Turkey's Siirt province when a remote-controlled bomb exploded, Turkey's semiofficial Anadolu Agency reported.
    Also Wednesday, two gunmen were arrested near Istanbul's Dolmabahce Palace, Turkey's Dogan News Agency reported after gunfire erupted close to a police post at the palace.
    No injuries or deaths were immediately reported in that incident. The Istanbul governorate said the two suspects were carrying automatic weapons and hand grenades.
    Anadolu said the suspects are members of the far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front or DHKP-C. Last week, Anadolu reported two female members of DHKP-C were responsible for the shooting at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul on August 10. The group claimed responsibility for a 2013 suicide bombing at U.S. Embassy in Ankara.
    Turkey has been experiencing an escalation in violence on multiple fronts. In July, a suicide blast that authorities blamed on ISIS killed 33 people in Suruc in southeastern Turkey. The country launched airstrikes against ISIS in Syria after the group attacked Turkish troops at the Syria-Turkey border, killing a soldier.
    Turkey also launched airstrikes against the PKK in northern Iraq and within Turkey as part of its anti-terrorism efforts. Since July, more than 50 Turkish security personnel have been killed, special security zones in numerous districts in the east and southeast have been declared, and more than 1,000 people with alleged links to ISIS, PKK, and DHKP-C have been detained.
    Last week, the United States began launching manned airstrikes against ISIS from a base in southern Turkey.
    The United States has long wanted to use Turkish bases for manned airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and parts of Iraq. Such access should shorten flight times for U.S. (and presumably allied) fighter jets -- especially into Syria, where the group calling itself the Islamic State has its de facto capital in Raqqa -- compared with taking off from bases in Iraq or aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.
    Turkey has long endured the buildup of ISIS on its long and porous border with Syria, but until July was reluctant to permit the U.S. to use its bases to strike the radical militant group.
    Ankara has been under long and consistent pressure from allies to move more directly against ISIS. The pressure increased inside Turkey after a series of attacks blamed on the group.