x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

India major killed in Kashmir gunfight

An Indian army major is killed and six other soldiers, including a colonel, are injured in a fierce gunfight with Islamic militants in Indian Kashmir.

An Indian army major was killed and six other soldiers, including a colonel, were injured in a fierce gunbattle with Islamic militants in Indian Kashmir, the military said today. The violence comes after a brief lull in rebel violence in the Himalayan region where militants have been fighting New Delhi's rule for two decades in an insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. "The gunbattle erupted Tuesday evening when army soldiers moved into a forest area on a tipoff to arrest or eliminate militants present there," an army spokesman said.

The clash took place in the Mendhar area of Poonch district, about 450 kilometres south of Indian Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar. "Intermittent exchanges of fire continued throughout the night," the spokesman said, adding that reinforcements have been sent to strengthen the security cordon around the scene of the fighting. Security forces have been struggling to control demonstrations in the mainly Muslim Kashmir valley after being accused of killing 15 civilians - many of them teenagers - since the first death of a 17-year-old on June 11.

The insurgency has left more than 47,000 people dead, according to an official count. *AFP