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Kashmir fighting kills three soldiers

Friday, July 12, 2002

SRINAGAR, India -- Three Indian soldiers and three suspected Islamic militants were killed in two separate gunbattles in troubled Kashmir, officials said Thursday.

Suspected guerrillas am-bushed a group of Indian soldiers planning to raid their hide-out Thursday in Sugam, a village 75 miles north of Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state.

Two soldiers and two suspected insurgents were killed in the ensuing gunbattle, army spokesman Lt. Col. Mukhtiar Singh said.

Two soldiers were also seriously wounded.

On Wednesday, a soldier and a suspected militant were killed during a security sweep in the town of Punch.

Islamic militants, fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan, attack Indian forces almost daily in disputed Kashmir.

More than 1 million Indian and Pakistani soldiers are squared off along the frontier. Last month, there were fears that tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbors could lead to war.

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