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21 KURDISH REBELS KILLED BY TROOPS IN CLASH

Turkish troops killed 21 Kurdish rebels overnight in southeastern Turkey -- the biggest clash since the rebels declared a unilateral truce more than five years ago, an official statement said Thursday.

Three Turkish troops were killed in the clash near the town of Pervari, in Siirt province, the governor's office in Sirnak province said.

Private CNN-Turk television said earlier that Turkish troops had been pursuing rebels believed to have infiltrated into Turkey from neighboring Iraq in the past week, and that the clash erupted overnight.

The rebels belong to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which has been seeking autonomy in Turkey's southeast and has battled government forces since 1984 -- a conflict that has killed more than 37,000 people.

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