5 Indian soldiers killed, 1 injured in occupied Kashmir clash

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Five Indian army soldiers were killed and one wounded during an operation against militants in India-occupied Kashmir on Friday, the army said.

The Indian army has been conducting search operations in the Rajouri district since last month to hunt “rebels” it blamed for an attack on an army truck that killed five troops.

A search team “established contact with a group of terrorists well entrenched in a cave” in an area “thickly vegetated with rocky and steep cliffs”, the army said in a statement.

The suspected rebels then triggered an explosive device that killed two and injured four other soldiers, it said.

The statement added that two soldiers died in the attack and another three succumbed to their injuries later in the day.

The Indian Express reported mobile internet services were suspended in Rajouri following the incident.

On April 12, the Indian army was also targeted when two masked men shot four soldiers in their sleep at the Bathinda military station in Punjab, a northern state where tensions have been high due to the resurgence of a separatist movement.

Four days later, the Indian police claimed to have arrested a soldier involved in the killing of four personnel.

In August last year, militants attacked an Indian army post in Rajouri, killing three soldiers, while two attackers died in the shootout.

New Delhi has long accused Pakistan of stoking a decades-long ‘insurgency’ in occupied Kashmir. Islamabad denies that accusation, saying it only provides diplomatic and moral support for Kashmiris seeking self-determination.