3 Indian troops, 2 militants killed in Kashmir fighting

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Two paramilitary soldiers and a policeman were killed in a rebel attack Monday in Indian-controlled Kashmir, triggering a later gunfight in which two attackers died, officials said.

Police said militants attacked police and soldiers who were on patrol in the northern Kreeri area, leaving two soldiers and a police officer dead.

Police and soldiers immediately launched a search operation in the area, resulting in a gunbattle with the attackers inside an orchard, said Gul Junaid Khan, a paramilitary spokesman. He said two militants were killed in the fighting.

It was the second militant attack in four days. On Friday, rebels attacked a police party in the region’s main city of Srinagar and killed two police officers.

None of the rebel groups that have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989 immediately claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack.

The violence comes amid more than a year of near-daily fighting between Pakistani and Indian soldiers along the highly militarized frontier that divides Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed rivals. Scores of soldiers and civilians have died on both sides.

India and Pakistan both claim Kashmir in its entirety. Many Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Pakistan denies.

Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.

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