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Suspected Islamic Militants Storm Hindu Temple In Kashmir, Killing 7 - 2002-11-24

In India's Jammu and Kashmir state, suspected Islamic militants have stormed a Hindu temple, killing seven people and injuring at least 25 others. The attack sparked a fierce gunbattle between security forces and the gunmen in the state's winter capital.

Police say gunmen forced their way into the popular Raghunath temple in Jammu city, following loud explosions in a busy market adjacent to the temple.

Many Hindu devotees were believed to be in the temple at the time of the attack, which police say probably involved two militants. Police commandos entered the temple complex after exchanging heavy gunfire with the gunmen for more than two hours.

This is the second attack on the Raghunath temple this year. In March, 10 people were killed when suspected Muslim militants tried to storm the shrine.

A new Jammu and Kashmir state government took power earlier this month, promising to open talks with Muslim militant groups, and begin a process of reconciliation in the region.

More than 35,000 people have been killed in violence related to a separatist insurgency that erupted in 1989.