The fighting took place in the southeastern province of Mardin late on Saturday as a military operation against the militants was underway, Anatolia news agency reported Sunday.

“The PKK members fired at the three Turkish soldiers when they came out from a dinner at a house in Ikipinar village of Omerli town of Mardin on the way to a gendarme station,” the report said.

The deaths came ten days after 13 Turkish soldiers were killed in a fierce fighting with PKK militants in the southeast of the country near the Turkish town of Silvan.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that the PKK will have to pay a “heavy price” for the killing of the Turkish soldiers.

In retaliation to the PKK attack, Turkish troops backed by bomber planes and helicopter gunships conducted a major offensive in southeastern Turkey.

PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, launches its attacks from Iraq’s Qandil Mountains in the areas controlled by Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.

Thousands of people have lost their lives since the PKK launched its armed campaign against Ankara in 1984.

In March, Turkey’s Today’s Zaman newspaper said a classified report revealed the PKK has been forging new ties with Israel.

The document presented at Turkey’s National Security Council meeting in late February also said the Kurdish militants were receiving training from Mossad agents, the Turkish paper said.

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