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Rebels and Indian soldiers killed in Kashmir gun battle

Rebels and Indian soldiers killed in Kashmir gun battle
From Al Jazeera - August 13, 2017

Two Indian soldiers and three rebels have been killed in a fierce gun battle in Kashmir, the latest bloodshed in the disputed Himalayan territory.

Hundreds of Indian soldiers surrounded Awneera, a village about 50km south of the main city of Srinagar, on Saturday night following a tip-off about fighters in the area, AFP news agency reported.

Kashmiri Police Chief Muneer Khan told Al Jazeera that fighting took place in the Shopian area.

"We laid the cordon yesterday evening after we received information about the presence of five militants," he said, adding: "In the morning we were able to recover three bodies."

Khan said the three fighters belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen group and were from nearby villages.

Three Indian soldiers were also wounded in the fighting, Khan said.

Mirza Waheed: 'Violence will not end Kashmir conflict'

As news of the rebels' deaths spread, hundreds of residents from neighbouring villages took to the streets in protest, throwing stones at soldiers and chanting slogans against Indian rule. About a dozen villagers were injured.

"People tried to march towards the site of the gunfight yesterday but there was a strong cordon," said 29-year-old Irshad Ahmed.

"Today when the encounter ended, clashes (between police and protesters) started and many people suffered bullet and pellet injuries," Ahmed, a resident of the village of Awneera, added.

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