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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Indian army says kills eight Islamist militants

SRINAGAR, India, June 6 (Reuters) - The Indian army said on Tuesday it had killed at least eight suspected Islamist militants as they attempted to enter Indian Kashmir from the Pakistani-controlled part of the restive Himalayan region.

Islamist rebels are known to cross the mountainous border into Indian-ruled territory to wage war on Indian forces. The conflict has killed more than 45,000 people since 1989.

"The army killed the entire group attempting to infiltrate," an army spokesman said. "The search operation is still in progress."

The spokesman said Tuesday's infiltration bid in the border district of Kupwara, 200 km (125 miles) northwest of the state capital, Srinagar, was the biggest this year.

Militant groups had no immediate comment.

Violence has increased in the state in recent weeks as summer has melted snow on the region's mountain passes, allowing easier movement of militants. While part of Kashmir is ruled by India, and part by nuclear rival Pakistan, they both claim it in full.

Indian army engineers have fenced off most of the Line of Control, a 742-km (460-mile) military line that divides the two sectors, in an attempt to curb the rebel incursion.
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