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Indian Police Claim Death Of Pakistani Leader Of Kashmir Militant Group

Indian police said on May 24 that they had killed a leader of the Pakistani militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad in Indian-controlled Kashmir in a gunbattle.

The group's operations chief, Saifullah, and one of his associates were killed on May 23 at a hideout in Srinagar, police said, without identifying the second rebel. Both were residents of Pakistan.

Police denied allegations by locals that the militants were killed while in police custody.

Shops and businesses were closed in Saraiballa, a major business hub in Srinagar on May 24. Police used tear gas to prevent people from gathering at the gunbattle site and detained at least four civilians.

Jaish-e-Mohammed has been active in Kashmir for more than 15 years. India blames the group for a series of attacks in the Himalayan region and Indian cities, including the attack on India's parliament in 2001 that brought nuclear rivals India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

Kashmir is divided evenly between India and Pakistan. Rebel groups have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989 for the Himalayan region's independence or its merger with Pakistan.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP