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Car Bomb Kills Five in Indian Kashmir


A car bomb in Indian Kashmir has killed five people, including the bomber, and wounded a dozen more. A Pakistan-based Muslim militant group has claimed responsibility for the latest blast, which took place only three days after bomb attacks that killed nearly 60 people in the Indian capital.

Senior police officer Munir Khan says the driver of the car detonated the bomb when a constable stopped him during a routine patrol on the outskirts of Kashmir's summer capital, Srinagar. Mr. Khan says policemen and civilians were among those killed or injured as people panicked and ran for cover.

The powerful explosion rocked Kashmir just hours before a new chief minister took charge of the state.

Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress Party will head Kashmir in a coalition government as part of a power-sharing deal with a regional party (the Peoples Democratic Party).

The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad group, one of the main Muslim militant outfits waging a separatist insurgency in Indian Kashmir, has claimed responsibility for the explosion.

The militant groups have opposed recent peace moves between India and Pakistan. The bomb attack occurred three days after both countries agreed to open up the tightly-controlled Kashmir border, to facilitate relief efforts for the October 8 earthquake that devastated villages on both sides of the frontier.

Bharat Karnad, of the independent Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, says the latest attack is an attempt by militant groups like the Jaish-e-Mohammad to remind the two governments that they are still in business.

"They are in a sense trying to tell both the Indian government and to some extent the Pakistan government that they can do what they want to at any time," said Mr. Karnad. "It is a way of sending a message that they are still active and they are still campaigning for their cause."

India has indicated that bombs that killed nearly 60 people and wounded more than 150 others Saturday in the Indian capital may be linked to Pakistan-based militants.

In New Delhi, a massive manhunt is underway to find those behind Saturday's triple bombings. Police have released the sketch of a man whom they believe is a key suspect. Thousands of additional security personnel have been deployed in the city, which remains on high alert.

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