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Indian Army: Troops Kill 3 Rebels in Gunbattle in Kashmir

Kashmiri Muslim women wail during the funeral of Ashiq Hussain, a suspected militant, in Charsoo village in south Kashmir, March 3, 2016.

The Indian army says three Kashmiri rebels have been killed in a gunbattle with government forces in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Army spokesman Col. Nitin N. Joshi says the fighting started early Thursday as the insurgents tried to break through a cordon of Indian forces in the southern town of Tral.

Joshi said the three belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen, the region's biggest rebel group fighting against Indian rule.

Public opposition to Indian rule remains widespread in the mostly Muslim territory, where rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for independence or merger with Pakistan. Both nations claim all of Kashmir, which is divided between them.

More than 68,000 people have died in the conflict, though incidents of violence have largely been suppressed by Indian forces.