Kurdish militants have reportedly killed at least eight Turkish soldiers in the Çukurca district of Hakkari province, in southeastern Turkey, near the Iraqi border.

Turkish media reported that the soldiers died after a roadside bomb or mine blasted their vehicle. There were also accounts of a shoot-out, resulting in injuries to eleven other troops.

Ismet Yilmaz, Turkey’s defense minister, blamed the ambush on the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been fighting an armed struggle against the Turkish state for almost thirty years and seeks an autonomous Kurdish state in the southeastern part of the country.

"They [the rebels] are testing our patience. We'll retaliate in kind," Yilmaz reportedly said.

A spokesman for the PKK named Doldar Hammo confirmed to Agence France Presse that his group carried out the attack.

Since July, just after general elections in Turkey, Kurdish militants have stepped up their attacks on Turkish military forces.

Over the past two weeks, the outlawed PKK has killed almost two dozen Turkish soldiers.

In response to the growing insurgency, Ankara is considering staging more cross-border maneuvers into northern Iraq, where PKK is reportedly based.