17 October, Tuesday


Four killed in fierce Kashmir gun battle

World

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Two militants and two Indian Airforce personnel were killed early Wednesday in a fierce gun battle in Hajin village in north Kashmir's Bandipora district.
 
"The gun battle is still on. The slain Airforce personnel were operating with the Army for operational experience and training in that area," Defense spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia told Anadolu Agency.
 
According to police officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Indian forces had intelligence input about the presence of around six militants in a village in Hajin and joint forces of the police and Army laid siege around the village around 5 a.m. (23.30GMT).
 
"The militants opened fire on our forces and killed two Airforce Guard commandos. Two militants were also killed, but we believe 3-4 militants are still in the area," the police official said. 
 
The police official also said that both slain militants were local Kashmiris belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant outfit.
 
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
 
The two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
 
Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu-Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
 
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.

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