Two police, seven Islamic State militants dead in Turkey clashes

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Two police officers and seven alleged members of the Islamic State group were killed in pre-dawn clashes Monday in south-eastern Turkey, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The incident took place following a police raid on an alleged Islamic State cell in the mostly Kurdish city Diyarbakir and comes just days before the country holds general elections on November 1.

The authorities arrested 12 suspected militants, while five police officers were listed as injured, a statement from the local government reported.

Police said they seized weapons, ammunition and organizational documents.

Islamic State is widely suspected of having carried out twin suicide bombings this month at a pro-Kurdish peace rally in the capital Ankara which killed around 100 people.

The government has declined to directly pin the blame for the country’s worst ever attack on the extremist group.

Kurdish groups in Syria are the main force on the ground pushing back Islamic State, with the help of US-led airstrikes.

A July bombing in southern Turkey which killed 34 was also largely blamed on Islamic State, though the group has not claimed any of these attacks.

Analysts have warned Turkey, like other countries in the region, has to deal with young citizens who are drawn to the extremist ideology of Islamic State, which largely operates in neighbouring Iraq and Syria.

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