ISTANBUL (AFP) - Kurdish rebels killed eight Turkish soldiers and a village guard on Wednesday in an ambush in the southeast of the country, Turkey's prime minister said, adding that "final words have failed." "We are in a situation where final words have failed," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul. The attack took place in the Cukurca region of Hakkari province, close to the border with Iraq. Eleven others were injured, he added. Village guards are locals armed by the state to help the Turkish army in its campaign against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Local sources said two mine explosions in different spots caused the incident, adding that an operation was launched against the rebels immediately after the attack. The PKK claimed responsibility for the attack. "Our forces have carried out an ambush against the Turkish army ... on the border," Doldar Hammo, a spokesman for the rebels which have bases in northern Iraq, told AFP. "Several Turkish soldiers were killed in the clashes, which have been continuing for two hours until now," he said, without giving other details. "Our patience for Ramadan is over now," Erdogan said, signalling tougher measures against the PKK after the end of the Muslim holy month around August 30, without elaborating. According to the Turkish press they would include sending special police and army units to the combat zones along the border with Iraq. Asked to confirm, Erdogan said: "You'll see if that happens," implying that Turkey's measures will be seen only after they are implemented. Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz hinted that Turkey's retaliation against the rebels would be strong. "They are testing our patience... We'll retaliate in kind," Yilmaz said in televised remarks. President Abdullah Gul said "the terrorist organisation is deliberately resorting to such provocations and ambushes, especially during Ramadan." On June 16, the PKK killed 13 soldiers in another southeastern province, Diyarbakir. The conflict with the PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States as well as Turkey, has claimed more than 45,000 lives since it began in 1984.