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Tuesday, 14 March, 2000, 17:04 GMT
'Top militant' killed in Kashmir
Indian soldiers on patrol
Insurgent activity has increased in recent months
A leading Kashmiri militant has been killed in a gunbattle with Indian security forces, according to police in the state capital Srinagar.

Kashmir Conflict
Abdul Hamid Gada and two other militants were killed in a shoot-out with members of the security services after they raided his hideout late on Monday 35 km north of Srinagar.

Gada, known as "Bomber Khan", was a senior commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen group.

The BBC's Altaf Hussein in Srinagar says the killing is regarded as a major breakthrough as Khan was one of the most wanted militants in the area.

Another three militants were killed in a clash with Indian forces in the same area on Tuesday.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) said he had been responsible for more than 100 killings, and had been evading arrest for the last 10 years.

The agency said that hundreds of people began gathering at his house as news of his killing spread.

A procession went to the local police station to demand that the bodies be handed over for burial.

There has been an upsurge in separatist activity in recent months, with militant groups staging more daring raids on security targets.

More than 25,000 people have been killed in violence linked to Kashmir since 1989.
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See also:

13 Mar 00 | South Asia
India warns of Pakistan 'build-up'
03 Mar 00 | South Asia
Nine die in India bus blast
29 Feb 00 | South Asia
More Hindus killed in Kashmir
09 Feb 00 | South Asia
Clinton aims to ease Indo-Pak tension
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