5 rebels killed in fighting with Indian soldiers in Kashmir

Officials in Kashmir say at least five rebels were killed and three civilians and a soldier injured in armed confrontations and anti-India protests in the disputed region.

The Indian army said four militants died Thursday in heavy fighting in southern Pakharpore village.

Residents said soldiers used explosives to blast a house where militants were hiding.

As the fighting raged, hundreds of residents protested in solidarity with the rebels and clashed with the government forces to help the trapped militants escape. Three civilians were injured in the clashes.

In a separate gunbattle in the Sopore area, one militant was reportedly killed and a soldier was wounded.

Rivals India and Pakistan control parts of Kashmir.

Rebel groups demand that Kashmir be united, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.