Explosion in mosque in Indian Kashmir wounds 9 people

An explosion outside a mosque prayer hall early Thursday wounded nine worshippers in the insurgency-wracked Indian portion of Kashmir, police said.

The blast occurred after the early morning prayer in Trenz, a village 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of Srinagar, the main city in Indian-held Kashmir, said police officer Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani.

Abdul Gani Dar, a wounded 75-year-old, said a tumbler lying in the mosque complex blew up with a deafening sound as a caretaker picked it up while people were leaving the area.

Four people with multiple shrapnel wounds were taken to a hospital in Srinagar, police said.

Police are investigating, but no one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Police defused a similar device in the area on Thursday in a house belonging to a commander of Hizbul Mujahedeen, the largest militant group in the Indian portion of Kashmir, said Gillani.

On Wednesday night, one Indian army soldier was wounded in an attack by insurgents, police said.

India accuses Pakistan of arming insurgents who have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir's independence or merger with Pakistan, a charge Islamabad denies. More than 68,000 people have died in the violence.