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Militants Kill 2 Soldiers in Indian Kashmir

Indian army soldiers arrive at the site of a gun battle, on the outskirts of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 20, 2016.

Gunmen attacked a paramilitary convoy in restive Indian Kashmir Saturday, killing two soldiers before entering a government-run training institute with 100 people inside, police said.

The militants, believed to be rebels opposed to Indian rule, assaulted a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy before paramilitaries engaged them in a firefight in the complex on the outskirts of Srinagar.

"Two CRPF personnel died in the initial assault on the convoy and ten others were injured," said Javaid Gillani, inspector general of police for the region.

"All the civilians present inside the building have been evacuated," Gillani said.

Witnesses said three militants entered the complex, which houses the government-run Entrepreneurship Development Institute on the outskirts of the main city of Srinagar.

'Save themselves'

They said the gunmen asked everyone inside to "save themselves" and move to a nearby hostel on the campus.

"They (gunmen) barged into the reception area as CRPF soldiers were firing towards them. They asked everyone to save themselves and go to the next building," a witness who worked at the institute said, asking to remain anonymous.

The wounded soldiers were hospitalized, including one in critical condition, Gillani said.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, where rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for either independence or a merger with neighboring Pakistan. India and Pakistan each administer a portion of Kashmir, but both claim the region in its entirety.

More than 68,000 people have been killed in the armed uprising and ensuing Indian military crackdown.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars, two of them over control of Kashmir, since they won independence from British colonialists in 1947.