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In India 7 killed in Kashmir gun battles

Three soldiers and four suspected militants were killed in separate gunbattles in Indian-administered Kashmir on Tuesday, officials said, marking an uptick in violence in the restive region.

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Indian paramilitary soldiers return from a gunbattle in Hajin, north-east of Srinagar on February 14, 2017 play

Indian paramilitary soldiers return from a gunbattle in Hajin, north-east of Srinagar on February 14, 2017

(AFP)

Three soldiers and four suspected militants were killed in separate gunbattles in Indian-administered Kashmir on Tuesday, officials said, marking an uptick in violence in the restive region.

The soldiers died during a gunfight with militants that broke out at Hajin in Bandipora district, army spokesman Rajesh Kalia told AFP, adding that five other soldiers were wounded.

A police official said a civilian also sustained injuries in the cross-firing which erupted after the government forces cordoned off an area following a tip-off about the presence of militants.

"A search party was suddenly fired upon by the militants as it zeroed in on a residential area," a police superintendent told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the press.

One militant, whose identity was not yet known, was also killed in the operation, he added.

A military vehicle leaves after the gunbattle in Hajin play

A military vehicle leaves after the gunbattle in Hajin

(AFP)

In the second deadly clash Tuesday, three militants were killed while a soldier received bullet wounds during a gunfight in Kupwara district, army spokesman Colonel Manish confirmed to AFP.

"Police and army laid a siege... after intelligence inputs about the presence of militants," he said.

"The militants fired upon the search party, injuring an army trooper, and in the retaliatory firing three militants were killed."

Tuesday's deadly violence came days after four militants, two soldiers and two civilians were killed in a flare-up in southern Kashmir.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since they won independence from Britain in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety.

An armed rebellion that started in the region in 1989 has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead.

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