Police in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir say rebels have attacked a police squad, killing three civilians and a police officer. An assailant was also killed when officers returned fire.

The unit came under fire Saturday night as it reached a road accident site on a key highway connecting Kashmir Valley with the rest of India, said senior police officer S.P. Pani. 
He said the dead civilians were road construction officials of a private company.

Various insurgent groups have been fighting for decades for Kashmir's independence from India or merger with Pakistan. Both countries claim all of Kashmir.

The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two wars for control of the region.