India

'Militants' killed in Kashmir gun battle

Indian Army and paramilitary forces stand near the Entrepreneur Development Institute (EDI) after the three-day gunfight with militants ended in Pampore, some 12 kilometers south of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, 12 October 2016. Image copyright EPA
Image caption Militants had taken positions inside an empty government building near Srinagar

The Indian army says two armed militants who had taken up positions in a government building in Indian-administered Kashmir have been killed.

This followed a three-day standoff between the soldiers and militants near the town of Pampore on Wednesday.

An army spokesman said the building was searched and weapons were recovered.

Indian-administered Kashmir has seen a wave of deadly unrest since a popular separatist leader was killed by the security forces in July.

On Monday, militants had entered an empty government building near Pampore town on the outskirts of the main city of Srinagar.

'Tricky'

Troops, paramilitary soldiers and police surrounded the building while firing rockets, flame throwers and grenades, reports said. The militants fired back with automatic weapons and hurled grenades.

Major-General Ashok Narula of the Indian army described the operation as "tricky" and said the fighting was protracted because "the building was huge and we didn't want collateral damage".

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Security forces fired rockets, flame throwers and grenades at the building

Another building in the same compound was targeted by militants in February when the resulting gun battle left nine people dead.

The latest fighting comes after an attack on an Indian army base killed 18 soldiers last month. India blamed the attack on Pakistan, which denied the claim.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have accused each other of increasing hostilities along their de-facto border in Kashmir since last month's attack.

Later in September, India said it had retaliated by carrying out "surgical strikes" against suspected militants along the de-facto border.

Pakistan denied that India had carried out any strikes and said two of its soldiers were killed in unprovoked cross-border shelling.

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