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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Missing Soldiers Incite Turkish Rage

ReutersPeople shouting slogans against the Kurdish Workers Party on Monday in Ankara after soldiers were attacked.
SIRNAK, Turkey -- The Turkish military confirmed on Monday that eight of its soldiers were missing after an ambush by Kurdish rebels that left 12 other soldiers dead and brought the northern Iraq border area to the brink of war.

The military said it had no contact with the eight soldiers after Sunday's clash and that 34 rebels had been killed so far in an offensive launched in retaliation for the attack.

"Despite all search efforts, no contact has been established with eight missing personnel since shortly after the armed attack on the military unit," the military said in a statement on its web site.

Earlier, the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency, based in Belgium, released the names of seven people it said were Turkish soldiers abducted by separatist fighters in Sunday's ambush. It said an eighth soldier was also taken captive but did not release his name.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek would not confirm their alleged capture by the rebels, saying communications could sometimes be cut during clashes. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the military was searching for the missing eight.

"We hope that the armed forces find our soldiers so that their families and we can rejoice," he said.

In Kuwait on Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said his country would pursue political solutions before sending any troops to northern Iraq.

"We will continue these diplomatic efforts with all good intentions to solve this problem caused by a terrorist organization," he said.