Suspected rebels kill 5 Indian security personnel, wound 7 others in separate attacks

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SRINAGAR, India — Suspected rebels attacked Indian forces in insurgency-wracked northern and northeastern regions on Thursday, killing five security personnel and wounding seven other people, officials said.

Heavily armed insurgents ambushed an army convoy in Arunachal Pradesh state in the remote northeast, killing three soldiers and wounding four others, said Nabin Payeng, an inspector-general of state police. They escaped after the attack in Tirap district.

Police blamed a faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland for the killings. There are more than 30 rebel groups in India's northeast fighting for independence or wide autonomy.

Also Thursday, suspected Kashmiri rebels killed two Indian security personnel and wounded two soldiers and a civilian in a fierce gunbattle in the northern Himalayan territory, officials said.

The fighting started after government forces intercepted two suspected militants taking shelter in Hardshoora, a village in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, police officer K. Rajendran said.

Government forces cordoned off the area and exchanged gunfire for several hours with militants holed up in two homes in the village, 35 kilometers (20 miles) north of Srinagar, the main city in the area, said Col. N.N. Joshi, a Defense Ministry spokesman.

One soldier and one policeman were killed in the fighting, police officer Javed Gilani said.

The Press Trust of India news agency said the firing stopped after the suspected rebels fled the area.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan. Muslim rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the uprising and in the subsequent Indian military crackdown.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the insurgents, a charge Pakistan denies.

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