Two Indian paramilitary soldiers and a suspected fighter have been killed in Indian-administered Kashmir following an attack on a convoy of troops, officials say.

Fighters hid in maize fields and sprayed bullets at a Border Security Force convoy on Wednesday near Udhampur, Danish Rana, a Kashmir police officer, said.

Udhampur is a garrison town on the main highway connecting Kashmir region with the rest of India.

At least eight soldiers were wounded in the attack besides the fatalities, Kashmir police Director-General K Rajendra said.

An attacker who had abducted three civilians while trying to escape from the scene of the ambush was captured and his hostages freed, he said.

 

Separatist groups have been fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir since 1989.

The gun battle ended early on Wednesday afternoon and troops were checking the area for any remaining attackers, Rajendra said.

No armed separatist group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack and the official accounts could not be independently verified by Al Jazeera.

Boys injured

In a separate incident on Wednesday, two boys aged 10 and 11 were killed in a blast which occurred when they were playing with an explosive device they found in the Ganderbal area, police said.

A third child was seriously wounded, an officer said on customary condition of anonymity.

On Tuesday, at least three civilians were killed as government forces on both sides of the India-Pakistan border traded gunfire and mortar shells.

Violence in the region has escalated in recent weeks, with regular skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani troops stationed along the heavily militarised frontier.

A 2003 ceasefire between India and Pakistan has largely held despite small but regular skirmishes still occur.

More than 68,000 people have been killed in the fighting and in a subsequent Indian security crackdown.

Source: AP And Al Jazeera