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Two Indian Security Personnel, Three Militants Killed In Kashmir Gunbattle

An Indian Army soldier carries a rocket launcher near the site of a gunbattle in Kashmir between suspected militants and Indian security forces earlier this month.

Five people, including two Indian security personnel, were killed in a gunbattle between members of a Pakistani-based militant group and Indian security forces in the disputed region of Kashmir.

The fighting on February 24 came as India continued its security crackdown in the region, including detaining more than 160 suspected separatists over the weekend.

Indian police and military officials said three members of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e Mohammad (JeM) militant group were killed in the shootout. JeM claimed responsibility for a February 14 suicide car bombing that killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police.

The violence only serves to ratchet up already high tensions between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan.

India blamed Pakistan for the February 14 attack in Indian-administered Kashmir and has warned its neighbor of a "jaw-breaking response."

Islamabad has denied any involvement and warned New Delhi against any "misadventure,” vowing to retaliate if it comes under attack.

India has killed at least eight JeM members and detained some 50 militants, allies, and relatives since the bomb attack.

Many of those rounded up over the past two days have been linked to the Jama’at-e Islami (JeI) Islamist party.

Anti-India Protests

The latest fighting triggered anti-India protests and clashes in the southern Kulgam area, with villagers throwing stones at Indian troops. An army officer and two soldiers were also injured in the unrest.

Police and paramilitary soldiers patrolled streets in the region’s main city, Srinagar, and declared a security lockdown in the downtown area.

India has long accused Pakistan of supporting militants in Muslim-majority Kashmir, which is divided between the two nuclear archrivals
but claimed in full by both since independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

The two neighbors have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan territory.

Pakistan denies allegations that it has aided militants, saying it only provides diplomatic support to the Kashmiri struggle for the right to self-determination.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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