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Kurdish rebels set conditions for German hostages' release

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Kurdish rebels set conditions for German hostages' release
A file photo of Mt. Ararat, where the climbers were kidnapped. Photo:DPA
13:58 CEST+02:00
Kurdish rebels confirmed they had kidnapped three Germans on a climbing trip in eastern Turkey, the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency reported Thursday. They called on Germany to end its "hostile policies" against the Kurdish people.

The rebels said the hostages were in good health, but threatened not to release them unless Berlin ended its crackdown against their group and its supporters, according to a statement by the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), published on Firat's Internet site.

"The German tourists will not be released unless the German state announces that it has given up its hostile policies against the Kurdish people and the PKK," the statement said.

Rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) seized the climbers, part of a group of 13 mountaineers, as they were ascending the mountain in Agri province, provincial governor Mehmet Cetin told Anatolia news agency.

Five rebels came to the climbers' camp located at an altitude of 3,200 metres and kidnapped three persons in protest at the German government's crackdown on PKK-affiliated bodies and its supporters in Germany, Cetin said.

Turkish paramilitary troops have launched an operation to rescue the climbers while the other hikers were brought down from the mountain.

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