Six Militants Killed in Kashmir Gunbattle

Soldiers and police clashed Friday with Islamic militants in Kashmir, leaving six insurgents dead in two separate gunbattles, police said, as a third gunfight raged elsewhere in the divided Himalayan region.

Four militants were killed in the village of Sursan, 44 miles south of Srinagar, the main city in Indian Kashmir, said the area's police chief, S. P. Pani.

"We had information about the presence of four militants in this village and accordingly cordoned off the entire village," he said. "As troops were zeroing in on the target house, a gunbattle erupted."

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Police had initially reported three militants killed, but later found the body of the fourth man under the rubble, Pani said.

Pani also said two militants were killed in a gunbattle in the village Khudwani, also south of Srinagar. At least 11 militants have been killed by security forces in that area in the past three days, he said.

Meanwhile, another gunfight was raging in Kartsoo, a village around 40 miles south of Srinagar. Soldiers patrolling the area saw a group of suspected militants moving through a dense orchard.

A gunbattle erupted when the rebels were challenged, Pani said. Soldiers had surrounded the orchard and a fight was on, he added.

More than a dozen militants groups are fighting the rule of largely Hindu India over predominantly Muslim Kashmir, aiming to win the territory's independence or merge India's two-thirds with the one-third controlled by Muslim-majority Pakistan.

New Delhi and Islamabad both claim all of Kashmir, and the nuclear rivals have fought two wars over the territory.