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Suspected rebels kill 5 Indian soldiers after ambushing their vehicle in Indian-controlled Kashmir

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NEW DELHI (AP) — Suspected rebels fighting against Indian rule in the disputed region of Kashmir ambushed an army vehicle on Monday in the region’s south, killing five Indian soldiers and wounding other five, officials said.

No insurgent group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack took place in the Kathua district of the Indian-controlled Kashmir while the military was on a routine patrol, a police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

Police and army reinforcements were rushed to the area, a massive cordon was set up and a search operation was underway, the officer said.

The attacks was the latest in a flurry of violence that erupted on Sunday, when police said two gunbattles killed two Indian army soldiers and six suspected militants in the Kulgam district. Earlier in the day, militants fired at an army camp in the district of Rajouri, wounding a soldier.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since 1947 but coveted in its entirety by both. The two nuclear-armed neighbors have fought three wars over Kashmir.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents to fight its forces for control of Kashmir, a charge Islamabad denies.

Various rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence from India or seeking to merge it with Pakistan, which most Muslim Kashmiri residents in the Indian-controlled sector support. Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.

Associated Press