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Indian Soldiers Kill 7 at Kashmir Border
Indian soldiers killed seven Islamic militants sneaking into Indian-controlled Kashmir from Pakistan on Sunday, police said.

Hours later, a fierce gunbattle raged in the Mendhar area, 150 miles north of Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu-Kashmir state, a police spokesman said on condition of anonymity. Details of the battle were not immediately available.

The killed men were all Pakistanis, the officer said.

Security officials in Kashmir usually identify slain fighters by their identity cards, personal letters, hotel bills, photographs or other documents found on their bodies. However, there was no way to independently confirm the identity of the dead men.

Since 1989, Muslim rebels have fought Indian security forces to make Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority region, independent or a part of Pakistan. More than 61,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed.

India, the United States and Britain say the militants sneak across the mountainous Kashmir frontier. Indian army officials say the Pakistani army across the border sometimes opens fire to cover them.

India says Pakistan trains, arms and funds the militants. Pakistan denies this, saying the support is only ideological.

(China Daily April 21, 2003)

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