February 21, 2016 / 3:20 PM / in 2 years

Death toll rises to seven in Kashmir militant clash

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - The death toll from a militant attack in India’s disputed Kashmir region rose to seven on Sunday, as security forces fought to flush attackers out of a building they had stormed.

Indian army soldiers take their positions near the site of a gun battle between Indian security forces and militants on the outskirts of Srinagar February 21, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

The militants had attacked a bus carrying police reservists near Srinagar, Kashmir’s summer capital, before breaking into a training institute. More than 100 people were inside at the time, including people on a course.

Two reservists and one civilian were killed in Saturday’s attack and operation to evacuate the institute. Three elite soldiers died on Sunday as they fought to eliminate the attackers.

“We have killed one militant,” Bhavish Choudhary, a spokesman for the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), said on Sunday evening. “The operation is ongoing.”

There were repeated blasts at the scene and television news pictures showed smoke billowing from the roof of the five-story training center.

Muslim separatists have been fighting Indian forces in the Indian portion of Kashmir since 1989. India accuses Pakistan of training and arming the rebels in the portion it controls and sending them to the Indian side, a claim its neighbor denies.

India and Pakistan fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.

Reporting by Fayaz Bukhari; Writing by Mayank Bhardwaj and Douglas Busvine; Editing by Digby Lidstone

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