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25 Missing in Indian Kashmir as Deadly Fire Blazes Into Third Day

Officials in Indian Kashmir say at least 25 people are missing at an army ammunition depot after firefighters managed to control a deadly fire blazing into its third straight day.

Authorities say the missing include 10 soldiers, 13 firefighters and two civilians. The fire, which began Saturday morning at the Khandroo depot south of Srinagar, has killed at least four people and wounded more than 35 others.

Massive explosions triggered by the fire sent shells and shrapnel into nearby villages, forcing more than 20,000 residents to evacuate.

The army has dispatched bomb-disposal squads to secure the area and remove any unexploded ammunition.

Two militant groups - including the region's most prominent, Hizbul Mujahideen - claimed responsibility for the fire, but the army says it is investigating the cause and has ruled out terrorist action.

Separately, Indian police say suspected militants launched a grenade attack Monday, in Bandipora town in north Kashmir. At least two people were injured, with one report saying two people were killed.

Indian Kashmir is in the grip af an 18-year insurgency, which officials say has claimed more than 45,000 lives. Rebel groups are fighting for an independent Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan.

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