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Last Updated: Friday, 22 April, 2005, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Troops 'kill Kashmir militants'
Indian troops patrol near the Line of Control
The militants were killed near the Line of Control
The Indian army says troops have killed 11 suspected separatist militants in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Six were shot dead after allegedly crossing the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between Indian- and Pakistan-controlled territory.

The killings come a day after the second successful run of a landmark bus service linking divided Kashmir.

The service is seen as a major peace step between the nuclear rivals, both of whom lay claim to Kashmir.

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An Indian defence spokesman told the BBC that the soldiers intercepted the infiltrators on the Indian side of the LOC very close to where the cross-Kashmir bus service drives past.

Militants who oppose the service have warned passengers against using the service.

The spokesman, Colonel Batra, also said that five other militants were killed after a clash with troops in the northern town of Handwara, also close to the LoC.

The fighting was said to have broken out after the soldiers raided a suspected militant hideout late on Thursday evening.

In another incident, two militants were killed in a gunbattle with Indian soldiers in Poonch district, Indian authorities said.

The militants were spotted trying to cross the LoC in the Sabra Gali area, an army spokesman said.

Historic service

Despite the threats surrounding the cross-Kashmir bus, the service has been widely welcomed by Kashmiris.

The first service linking the divided portions for nearly 60 years was launched on 7 April.

It links the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, Srinagar, with Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have promised to increase the frequency of the service which runs twice a month at the moment.

They have also agreed to let trucks use the route for trade, a move that many believe will greatly benefit Kashmiri businesses.




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