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Saturday, February 6, 1999 Published at 15:18 GMT

World: South Asia

Nine die in Kashmir clashes

India's army killed 1,000 separatist rebels last year

Clashes between security forces and separatist rebels in Indian-administered Kashmir have led to nine deaths.

Police in the state's summer capital Srinagar said nine people died in clashes when security forces conducted a search operation in a village called Khayyar near Aishmuqam, about 80km from Srinagar.

Among those dead are three militants and an Indian soldier.

[ image: Killings have taken place near the border Line of Control]
Killings have taken place near the border Line of Control
Police said the fighting began on Friday afternoon and continued until Saturday morning. The militants belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group.

In another incident, three militants were killed in a clash with the security forces at Kinyl village in the border district of Kupwara.

Troops exchange fire

Meanwhile, an exchange of fire has been reported between the Indian and Pakistani troops across the Line of Control in the state.

Authorities said an artillery shell fired by the Pakistani soldiers landed in the central market in the town of Kargil. No-one was injured.

Death toll

Meanwhile, a government spokesman says the Indian security forces killed 1,000 militants in the state during 1998.

But he did not give the casualties suffered by the security forces.

The spokesman said while 948 of the killings took place in the interior parts of the state, 51 militants were killed near the Line of Control.

Clashes also led to 300 kidnappings reported last year.

In the past 10 years, more than 20,000 people have died in the Himalayan state disputed between India and Pakistan, who have fought over it since partition 51 years ago.

Islamabad says the whole area should have gone to Pakistan, but India argues that it is an integral part of its territory, and accuses Pakistan of sponsoring a separatist campaign in Indian Kashmir.

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