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Indian army kills three militants near Kashmir border

india mapIndian soldiers have killed three armed militants in Kashmir in an ongoing gun battle, foiling an attack on a military base near the de facto border with Pakistan, officials said Monday.

The fighting erupted early Sunday morning after militants crossed the heavily militarised border that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, 140 kilometres (86 miles) northwest of the main city of Srinagar, an army spokesman said.

“We have spotted three dead bodies in the area so far. Intermittent firing is still going on,” Colonel Brijesh Pandey told AFP, adding that soldiers were mobilised from nearby army camps for the gun battle near the border town of Tangdhar.

“One civilian, an old man, was also killed in the crossfire,” Pandey said.

A top police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the militants tried to storm the army’s brigade headquarters before fleeing to a nearby village.

Kashmir was divided between India and Pakistan after the two countries won independence from Britain in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety.

Since 1989 several rebel groups have been fighting hundreds of thousands of Indian forces deployed in the territory administered by New Delhi, for independence of the region or its merger with Pakistan.

The fighting has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead.

India routinely blames Pakistan for training and arming rebels and sending them across the border known as the Line of Control to take part in the fighting.

Islamabad denies the charges saying it only provides political and diplomatic support to Kashmir’s struggle for right of self determination.

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