Page last updated at 10:44 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 11:44 UK

India 'Islamic militants' killed

By Subir Bhaumik
BBC News, Guwahati, Assam

Assam map

At least seven Islamic militants have been killed in a clash with the Indian army in the north-eastern state of Assam, the military says.

Army spokesman Rajesh Kalia said that a platoon of soldiers encircled a hideout of militants in a village in the western district of Dhubri on Friday.

The troops asked the militants to surrender, but they started firing at the soldiers, Mr Kalia said.

Clashes between the military and Islamic militants are unusual in Assam.

However, there have been frequent clashes between the army and the insurgent groups fighting for independence or more autonomy over the last two decades.

'Terror group'

Mr Kalia said that troops launched a full scale attack on the hideout after they were fired at, killing the militants.

A United Liberation Front of Assam militant hands over his weapon to police
Assam has been the scene of several long-running insurgencies

He said that the army recovered six revolvers and two kg of explosives from the dead militants after the encounter which lasted for more than two hours.

Mr Kalia said that the militants belonged to the Bangladeshi Islamic terror group, Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HUJI).

"We had information about the movement of HUJI militants in the Bansbari area, and the operation was launched on the basis of that intelligence," Mr Kalia said.

He said that the army attacked as the militants were trying to meet another HUJI group near the state capital, Guwahati.

Mr Kalia said their location was tracked through a mobile interception system.

The HUJI has been blamed for recent explosions in various Indian cities, including the 2005 Delhi blasts, and Indian intelligence has said that some of them have been using Assam as a gateway into other Indian States.

But this is the first time that there has been an encounter with the HUJI militants in the state.

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