SRINAGAR, India Three Indian soldiers and four militants were killed on Tuesday in two separate gun battles in its Kashmir region, in the second deadly clash between security forces and separatist fighters in three days.Five soldiers were also wounded in the shootout in North Kashmir's Bandipora district as a joint army and police team mounted a search following a tip-off that up to three gunmen were in the area, a defence spokesman said."During the searches, militants hiding in a house opened fire, triggering off an encounter," Lieutenant Colonel Rajesh Kalia told Reuters. He said there were no arrests, while the remaining gunmen were unaccounted for.Separately, security forces shot dead three militants in the region's Handwara district, a senior police official told Reuters. An army officer also got injured in the gun battle that was still on, the official said.
India is trying to contain a low-level insurgency in its northernmost region that dates back more than a quarter century. Protests flared last year after security forces killed a popular underground separatist leader called Burhan Wani.
India accuses Pakistan of smuggling in men, equipment and counterfeit cash to back separatist fighters - a charge Islamabad denies. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars since independence over Kashmir, which both claim in full but rule only in part.Four militants and two Indian soldiers were among seven killed in a gun battle in South Kashmir on Sunday.
(Reporting by Fayaz Bukhari; Editing by Douglas Busvine, Rajesh Kumar Singh and Alison Williams)
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Updated Date: Feb 14, 2017 20:32:17 IST