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10 December 2023

Three killed in Kashmir battle: police

Two suspected Islamic militants and an Indian army soldier were killed Thursday during a gun battle in Kashmir, in the latest of a series of recent clashes, police said.

The exchange of fire erupted late Wednesday when the Indian army and counter-insurgency police raided a house where militants were said to be hiding about 70 kilometres (40 miles) south of the summer state capital Srinagar.

"The ensuing encounter left two militants and a soldier dead," a police spokesman said, adding two troopers and a policeman were wounded in the clash that lasted more than 12 hours.

One of the militants killed was identified by officials as Adil Pathan, a senior commander of Hizbul Mujahedin, Indian Kashmir's most powerful militant group.

On Thursday last week, Indian commandos stormed a hotel in Srinagar where two militants had been holed up for nearly 24 hours, killing the gunmen. A civilian and a policeman were also killed during the siege.

Kashmir had been relatively stable in recent months, but Indian police have reported several prolonged clashes between troops and militants since the siege.

Suspected rebels have also killed three of their former colleagues during the last week, police said.

An insurgency erupted in 1989 against Indian rule of the Muslim-majority region, killing more than 47,000 people by the official count.

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