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Indian Troops, Islamic Militants Battle in Kashmir, One Rebel Dead - 2004-03-11


Authorities in Indian Kashmir say a fierce gunbattle between security forces and Islamic militants has left at least one militant dead and two soldiers wounded.

Officials say the fighting erupted early Thursday morning, when the militants holed themselves up in a girls' school after a failed attack on a nearby army camp in the town of Khrew, south of Srinagar.

They said the militants allowed nearly 200 students and teachers to leave the government-run school before opening fire at troops surrounding the building.

Officials say they do not know how many militants were inside the building, and that the fighting there was continuing. They say intercepted rebel communication indicated that one of militants was killed.

An extremist Islamic group -- Jaish-e-Mohammad -- called newspaper offices in Kashmir to claim responsibility for the attack.

The Pakistan-based group was banned in 2002, when Islamabad began a crackdown on religious extremism.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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