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Kashmir Bus Explosion Kills 26 Soldiers

Suspected Islamic militants blew up a military bus in India's portion of Kashmir on Sunday, killing at least 26 soldiers and wounding 15, officials said.  

The bomb was planted under a small bridge along a road connecting the cities of Sringar and Jammu, Border Security Force spokesman Neeraj Sharma said.


The attack on the Border Security Force bus came hours after India's new prime minister, Manmohan Singh, took charge in New Delhi.


At least 26 soldiers died at the scene of the explosion and 15 were wounded, many critically, Sharma said.


A police officer said two civilians were also wounded when their vehicle caught fire from the explosion.


Sharma blamed the explosion on Islamic guerrillas who have been fighting for independence in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir or to merge it with mostly Muslim Pakistan.


The 14-year insurgency in India's only Muslim-majority state has claimed more than 65,000 lives.


There was no immediate claim of responsibility.


(China Daily via agencies, May 24, 2004)

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