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Gunbattle leaves four dead in India-held Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Two air force commandos and two suspected militants were killed during a gunbattle Wednesday in occupied Kashmir, the Indian army said, during an upsurge in violence in the disputed region.

The fighting started when soldiers searching for separatists cordoned off a neighbourhood in the northern town of Hajin.

“It was a difficult operation. Two militants were killed in the encounter. Unfortunately two air force commandos also died,” an Indian police officer told AFP.

The deaths came two days after a leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad was killed in a shoot-out with government forces in occupied Kashmir.

Separatist groups have for years been fighting Indian soldiers deployed in the region, demanding that Kashmir be given independence or merged with Pakistan.

The fighting has left tens of thousands dead, most of them civilians and earlier this year India launched “Operation Allout” to hunt down the separatists.

Police say at least 160 separatists and 59 soldiers or police have been killed so far this year.



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