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Page last updated at 14:09 GMT, Saturday, 19 July 2008 15:09 UK

Soldiers killed in Kashmir blast

Explosion near Narbal
The soldiers had been returning home when the blast happened, police said

At least nine soldiers have been killed in an explosion triggered by suspected separatist militants, police in Indian-administered Kashmir said.

More than 20 others were hurt when a bus carrying the troops was caught in the blast in the Narbal area, close to the provincial capital, Srinagar.

Some of the injured are said to be in critical condition.

Police said the soldiers were on leave and returning home.

The Hizbul Mujahideen militant group called the BBC office in Srinagar to claim responsibility for the blast.

The latest incident comes a day after senior officials from India and Pakistan held talks to step up confidence-building measures in the disputed region.

Map

Violence in Indian-controlled Kashmir has reduced markedly since a 2003 ceasefire between India and Pakistan.

But analysts say that recent firing incidents across the Line of Control and rare allegations of ceasefire breaches underline how fragile the peace is.




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