Kurdish rebels attacked a military outpost near the Iraqi border early today, sparking clashes in which at least eight soldiers and 12 Kurdish rebel fighters were killed, the military said. Fourteen other soldiers were wounded in the fight.

The military immediately sent special forces as reinforcements to the area as helicopter gunships and artillery fire targeted rebel positions, the military said in a statement.

Separately, Turkish warplanes attacked rebel positions across the border in northern Iraq, it said.

Yesterday, Turkey?s military said it had killed as many as 120 Kurdish rebels in an air raid on rebel hideouts in northern Iraq last month and in a daylong incursion by elite commandos into Iraq this week.

Kurdish rebels have dramatically stepped up attacks in Turkey in recent months, posing a threat to a government attempt to end one of the world?s longest guerrilla wars.

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