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Five Pakistani Rebels, Two Indian Soldiers Killed In Kashmir Clashes


Indian soldiers take position during fighting earlier this year against Pakistani militants in Kashmir.

Indian soldiers take position during fighting earlier this year against Pakistani militants in Kashmir.

Five suspected rebels and two Indian soldiers have been killed in two separate clashes this week in the disputed mountain region of Kashmir, the Indian Army says.

Four militants who had crossed to the Indian-controlled side from the Pakistani side were killed in fierce fighting that also left one soldier dead in the Tangdhar sector on June 16, army spokesman Colonel Nitin N. Joshi said.

Another clash on June 15 in the Machil area of Kashmir left another militant and soldier dead and four other soldiers wounded, he said.

There was no independent confirmation of the two incidents.

The rebels, who have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989 with wide support from the mostly Muslim population, are demanding that Kashmir be given independence or become part of neighboring Pakistan.

More than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the subsequent Indian military crackdown.

Both India and Pakistan claim the Himalayan region in its entirety. The two nuclear-armed countries have fought three wars, two of them over control of Kashmir.

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

Based on reporting by AP and dpa
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