The Indian army says five suspected rebels and two soldiers have been killed in two separate gunbattles near the line of control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Army spokesman Col. Nitin N. Joshi says four militants were killed in fighting with soldiers after they entered India's portion of Kashmir from the Pakistani side in the Tangdhar sector on Thursday.

An Indian solider was also killed in the fierce fighting, Joshi said.

He said a militant and a soldier were killed and four soldiers wounded in another gunbattle in the Machil area of Kashmir.

The rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the subsequent Indian military crackdown.