Kashmir: Freedom Fighters Kill Indian Colonel, a Major &...

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Kashmir: Freedom Fighters Kill Indian Colonel, a Major and at least 10 soldiers

Several Indian security personnel and two militants were killed in a major spike in fighting in Indian held Kashmir.  when the army and police stormed a house where rebels were holding hostages, officials said. Indian counterinsurgency team led by an army Colonel entered the house in northwestern Handwara area on late Saturday stormed a house where rebels were hiding. A firefight broke out and the Indian team came under heavy fire. In the ensuing firefight, two militants and all the Indian team members were killed.

No freedom fighting group made a claim. A police officer said an army colonel and a major, along with a police officer and several other soldiers, tried to storm the hideout when they were gunned down by the militants. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with department policy. The officer said the reinforcement of special forces was called in and they shot dead the two militants but the other two likely escaped. India has stepped up its counterinsurgency operations across Kashmir in recent months despite a lockdown to combat the coronavirus. Militants fighting Indian rule have not ceased their attacks on government forces and alleged informants either. There has also been almost daily fighting over the last several months along the rugged and mountainous highly militarized frontier that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. On Friday, two Indian soldiers were killed in border skirmishes. On Wednesday, a Pakistani soldier and three civilians on both sides of Kashmir were killed in another bout of fighting. Rebel groups in Indian-held Kashmir demand that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training anti-India rebels. Pakistan denies this, saying it offers only moral and diplomatic support to the militants and to Kashmiris who oppose Indian rule. Rebels have been fighting Indian rule since 1989. Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.

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