Rebel Violence Leaves Three Soldiers, Two Militants Dead in Indian Kashmir

Suspected Islamic militants attacked a paramilitary camp, a police post and an army vehicle in Indian-controlled Kashmir in an upsurge in violence on Friday, killing three government soldiers and wounding another 22, police said.

A grenade attack at the paramilitary camp killed at least two soldiers in Nihama, a village 45 miles south of Srinagar, capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state, Police Chief S.P. Pani said.

Three soldiers critically wounded in the blast were taken to a hospital, Pani said.

"We are verifying from where the grenade was lobbed," Prabhakar Tripathy, a spokesman for the Central Reserve Police Force, told The Associated Press.

Also Friday, suspected rebels fired at a police post at Sheeri, a village 45 miles north of Srinagar, killing one policeman and critically wounding another, said Viplav Kumar, a senior superintendent of police. Two militants were also killed as police repulsed the attack, Kumar said.

No one claimed responsibility for the two attacks.

Hours earlier, militants triggered an improvised explosive device as an army vehicle passed by in a high-security zone in Srinagar, said Sajjad Ahmed, a police officer. The 15 wounded soldiers were hospitalized, one in critical condition.

In a statement faxed to the local Kashmir News Service, Hezb-ul-Mujahedeen spokesman Ahsan Illahi claimed his group's responsibility for the attack.

Hezb-ul-Mujahedeen is one of a dozen rebel groups fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan since 1989. More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over control of Kashmir since they won independence from Britain in 1947.

The longtime rivals have been holding talks since 2004 to settle the Kashmir dispute, but without success so far.