TUNCELI, Turkey (AP) _ Soldiers killed six leftist militants in fighting in the rugged mountains of eastern Turkey, Anatolia news agency reported Monday.

Soldiers had been pursuing militants of the Turkish Workers Communist Liberation Army, or TIKKO, since Jan. 9, when the militants apparently collaborated with Kurdish rebels in attacking a military helicopter in which six soldiers were killed.

Rebels from both groups have support in Tunceli, which is largely populated by ethnic Kurds and members of the Alawite sect of Islam.

Anatolia said the troops killed the militants Sunday.