India says top rebel leader suspected in several deadly attacks killed in Kashmir fighting

Indian police say a top rebel leader has been killed in a pre-dawn gunbattle with government forces in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Police Director-General K. Rajendra Kumar says Abu Qasim was killed Thursday in Kulgam area.

There was no independent confirmation.

Kumar said Qasim was a Pakistani national and operations chief of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, which India blames for several attacks across the country, including one in 2008 in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

India accuses Pakistan of funding and training the militants in the Pakistani-controlled portion of Kashmir. Islamabad denies the charge, saying it only gives moral and diplomatic support to the rebels.