Four Indian soldiers, four mujahideen dead in Kashmir gun battles


SRINAGAR (Reuters) – Four Indian soldiers and four Kashmiri mujahideen were killed on Tuesday in gun battles in Indian-held Kashmir, in the second outbreak of violence between security forces and separatists in three days.

Three soldiers and a Kashmiri mujahid died in a shootout in North Kashmir s Bandipora district, as a joint army and police team mounted a search following a tip-off that gunmen were in the area, a defence spokesman said. Five soldiers were wounded.

“During the searches, Kashmiri mujahideen hiding in a house opened fire, triggering off an encounter,” Lieutenant Colonel Rajesh Kalia told Reuters. He said there were no arrests.

Separately, Indian forces shot dead three Kashmiri mujahideen in Handwara district, a senior police official told Reuters. An Indian army officer was also killed in the gun battle.

India is trying to contain an insurgency in Held Kashmir that is more than a quarter-century old. Protests flared last year after security forces killed a popular Kashmiri separatist leader Burhan Wani.

India accuses Pakistan of smuggling in men, equipment and counterfeit cash to back separatist fighters — a charge Islamabad denies. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars since independence over Kashmir, which each claims in full but rules only a part.

Four Kashmiris and two Indian soldiers were among seven killed in a gun battle in South Kashmir on Sunday.


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