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Indian troops and rebels killed in Kashmir gun battle

At least two security personnel and two fighters killed in a battle in Bandipora area of Indian-administered Kashmir.

At least two Indian security personnel and two rebels have been killed in a gun battle in Bandipora district of Indian-administered Kashmir, according to local media reports.

The gun battle started early on Wednesday after security forces cordoned off the area to apprehend eight rebels believed to be hiding in Hajin area of the district.

"As the forces were closing in, the hiding militants fired upon them around 5 am, resulting in injuries to three personnel of Garud Commando Force. Two of them succumbed later," an official was quoted as saying by the Greater Kashmir newspaper.

This comes a day after at least three rebels and an Indian soldier were killed in three separate fightings in village of Kellar in southern Kashmir.

Thousands on Tuesday participated in funerals for the three rebels, chanting slogans including "We want freedom" and "Go India, go back."

The villagers also chanted slogans eulogising rebels and hailing Pakistan, which controls a part of the disputed Himalayan territory. Nuclear rivals India and Pakistan want Kashmir in entirety.

Earlier on Monday, police said troops killed a top rebel commander in the northwestern Handwara area. A police statement described the slain rebel as chief of operations of the Jaish-e-Mohammad armed group.

It said he was behind several attacks by the group recently, including last week's strike by rebels after they stormed a paramilitary camp near Srinagar's airport. One paramilitary officer and three rebels were killed in that fighting.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, which Pakistan denies.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the region. Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown since late 1980s.

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