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Indian forces kill three Kashmiris during overnight gun battle

SRINAGAR: Indian security forces killed at least three young Kashmiris during an overnight gun battle in a village in Indian-held Kashmir, ARY News reported on Monday.

According to Kashmir Media Service, Indian troops killed the civilians during a search operation in the village near the tourist resort of Pahalgam.

A local police officer said soldiers using mortar fire had destroyed the house and killed the Kashmiris.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan, but both claim it in full.

The two nuclear-armed neighbours have twice gone to war over the territory since gaining independence from British rule in 1947.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian troops are deployed in the disputed valley, where separatist groups have for decades been fighting for independence or a merger with Pakistan.

The restive Himalayan region suffered a rise in violence last year after the killing in July of a popular young freedom leader Burhan Wani in a gun battle with Indian forces.

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