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Indian forces battle gunmen in Kashmir siege
( 2003-10-24 14:17) (Agencies)

Indian soldiers laid siege to a house in Kashmir on Friday where three suspected militants were holed up, police said.

"There is intermittent firing going on between security forces and the terrorists," a police officer told Reuters by telephone from the Shopian area, south of Srinagar, the state's summer capital.

"The firefight has been going on for four hours. We do not have any details about injuries at this point," said another police official in the district headquarters of Pulwama.

Muslim separatists threw grenades and fired outside the home of Indian Kashmir's chief minister last Friday, killing two soldiers in an attack New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants. The chief minister was not a home.

The rebels were killed after they were holed up in nearby shops for 24 hours.

The attacks are the latest in a cycle of rising violence undermining efforts to restore ties between India and Pakistan.

Militant groups fighting Indian rule in Muslim-majority Kashmir have rejected New Delhi's decision to hold talks for the first time with the region's main separatist alliance. They have also rejected an offer to launch a bus service linking the Indian and Pakistani administered parts of Kashmir.

Islamabad denies direct involvement in the 14-year revolt in which at least 38,000 people have died.

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