Four killed, 34 hurt in Kashmir

Four people have been killed in a shootout in Indian-administered Kashmir while 34 others were injured in an explosion targeting a bus carrying Indian troops.

    Hizb al-Mujahidin has claimed responsibility for the attack

    A soldier and three Kashmiri fighters were killed when troops raided a rebel hideout in the southern district of Rajouri, police said.

    In the summer capital Srinagar, suspected rebels set off explosives, as a bus packed with soldiers passed by on a major highway, senior

    police officer Muhammad Amin said.

    At least 33 troops and a woman passer-by were injured in the blast, which could be felt two kilometres away, he said.

    Kashmir's largest rebel group Hizb al-Mujahidin claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to a local newspaper.

    The bus was travelling to Srinagar from the northern town of Baramulla as part of a convoy, an army officer at the scene of the blast said.

    The explosion caused minor damages to another army vehicle and a few civilian cars and led to a suspension of traffic on the busy road, causing a large traffic jam.

    Police said the explosives were kept near a locked shop which
    was razed to the ground by the impact.

    Last week, a woman was killed and 10 other people injured in a similar explosion on the same highway.

    The explosion is one of the most significant attacks on Indian troops since the militaries of India and Pakistan entered into a ceasefire on their borders in Kashmir on 26 November.

    Both Indian security forces and the rebels have said that the truce does not affect their operations inside Indian-administered Kashmir.

    At least 180 people have died in the insurgency during the border ceasefire.

    The nearly 15-year Kashmir insurgency has claimed more than 40,000 lives according to the official count. Separatists put the toll between 80,000 and 100,000.



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