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Kashmir Violence Leaves 2 Dead, Dozens Wounded


In Indian Kashmir, at least two soldiers have been killed and more than 40 people - mostly civilians - have been injured in two separate attacks by suspected Islamic militants.

One of the attacks targeted the main telegraph office in the heart of Kashmir's summer capital, Srinagar. Deputy Inspector General M.A. Shah said dozens of people were in the office, paying their telephone bills.

Mr. Shah told reporters that a grenade hit the roof of the telegraph office, then fell to the ground.

Police officials say the grenade was probably meant to hit a large security bunker situated outside the office but missed its target and wounded about more than two dozen people, mostly civilians.

Television pictures showed people wounded and bleeding as others rushed to get help.

In a second attack in Kashmir's Doda district, army soldiers traveling in a convoy were hit by a landmine blast that killed at least two and wounded nearly 10.

India's only Muslim-majority province was observing the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The attacks coincided with threats from the Pakistan-based Laskhar-e-Taiba militant group to increase attacks during Ramadan.

In a statement to the daily newspaper Greater Kashmir, the group's spokesman, Abu Huziafa, warned people to keep away from security installations to avoid being hit in attacks.

The Laskhar-e-Taiba is one of more than a dozen armed Muslim separatist groups waging an insurgency to separate Kashmir from India.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in its entirety by both. The nuclear rivals have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir and nearly started a fourth last year.

The two sides have been searching for ways to repair relations, with India last week offering to mend transport links and restore sports ties. It also offered to open a top-level dialogue with Kashmir's main separatist alliance, the All Party Huriyat Conference.

Pakistan is objecting to the Indian proposal to talk to the Kashmir separatists, saying that any discussions that do not include Pakistan are bound to fail.

Indian Kashmir has turned into a war zone since 1989, when New Delhi deployed tens of thousands of troops in the region to fight the Muslim insurgents. More than 40,000 people have died in the fighting.

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