Seven killed as rebels storm Indian paramilitary camp…

Five Indian soldiers and two suspected militants have been killed after rebels stormed a paramilitary camp in disputed Kashmir, officials said.

Gunmen in combat dress entered the camp near southern Lethpora village, firing guns and grenades at the sentry, said paramilitary spokesman Rajesh Yadav.

He said soldiers in the camp responded to the attack, which left at least three soldiers wounded.

The camp is on the strategic highway connecting the Kashmir Valley with the rest of India and close to the chain of plateaus famed for Kashmir’s saffron fields.

Indian paramilitary force soldiers at the site where suspected rebels stormed a camp (Mukhtar Khan/AP)

Besides counter-insurgency operations, the camp also serves as a training centre for soldiers.

Elsewhere, Indian and Pakistani soldiers traded gunfire along the highly militarised line dividing Kashmir between the two rivals, killing an Indian soldier, India’s army said.

The initial assault on the paramilitary camp left one soldier dead and two wounded. Police said reinforcements of army soldiers and counter-insurgency police encircled the camp and exchanged gunfire with the assailants.

In the subsequent fighting, three more paramilitary soldiers were killed and another died of cardiac arrest while being evacuated with many others who were trapped in the camp’s residential buildings.

Mr Yadav said troops recovered the bodies of two suspected militants and were searching a building in the camp for another.

Anti-Indian unrest has simmered in Kashmir since a popular rebel leader was killed over a year ago.

Apart from mass anti-India protests and clashes often leading to the deaths of protesters since the leader’s killing, dozens of young Kashmiri men have joined rebel groups, leading to a surge in attacks.

The Indian government has responded by stepping up anti-rebel operations.

More than 200 militants, 78 police officers and soldiers, and at least 57 civilians have died in the violence this year, the deadliest since 2010.

The Indian army said one soldier was killed after Pakistani troops fired at forward posts in the Nowshera sector along the highly militarised Line of Control dividing Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

Colonel Nitin Joshi, an Indian military spokesman, called it an “unprovoked violation” of the 2003 ceasefire between the two countries, and said the Indian army “retaliated strongly and effectively”.

There was no immediate reaction from Pakistan.

The pair have a long history of bitter relations over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir. They have fought two of their three wars over the region since they gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Rebel groups demand that Kashmir be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population and most people support the rebels’ cause against Indian rule.

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown since 1989. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, which Pakistan denies.

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