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The Journal Gazette

Friday, March 22, 2019 5:59 am

Indian forces kill 5 insurgents, 11-year-old boy in Kashmir

The Associated Press

SRINAGAR, India (AP) Indian security forces killed five militants and an 11-year-old hostage in three separate clashes in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, police and the army said Friday.

Army spokesman Rajesh Kalia said security forces found the bodies of two insurgents and the boy after an exchange of gunfire that started in northern Bandipora district on Thursday.

Police said the insurgents had taken two civilians hostage, apparently for use as human shields. One was rescued, police said in a tweet.

Separately, two insurgents were killed in western Baramulla district and another in southern Shopian area during search operations by security forces, Kalia and police said.

A grenade attack by insurgents wounded three police officers in Sopore area on Thursday, police said.

Insurgents have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with neighboring Pakistan since 1989. India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim the region in its entirety.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the insurgents, a charge Islamabad denies. Pakistan says it provides only diplomatic and moral support to the rebels fighting Indian rule.

Tensions escalated last month after India launched an airstrike inside Pakistan, targeting militants blamed for a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 troops.

Pakistan retaliated by shooting down two Indian planes and capturing a pilot, who was later returned to India. International pressure has helped prevent the situation from worsening between the two countries.

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This story has been corrected to show that age of boy killed is 11 instead of 12.