Kashmir: 5 security forces and 2 rebels killed in a gun battle

Five security forces and two rebels were killed in Indian-administered Kashmir when the army and police stormed a house where rebels were holding hostages, officials said on Sunday.

A five-member counterinsurgency team entered the home in the northwestern Handwara area late Saturday and “successfully extricated the civilians”, an Indian army statement said.

The government forces came under heavy gunfire from the house, and in the ensuing firefight two rebels and all counterinsurgency team members died, it said.

It did not specify how many civilians were rescued. No rebel group immediately commented and there was no independent confirmation of the hostage-taking.

A police officer said an army colonel and a major, along with a police officer and two other soldiers tried to storm the hideout when they were gunned down by the rebels. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with department policy.

The officer said special forces reinforcements were called in and they shot dead two rebels but two others likely escaped.

Meanwhile, at least eight civilians, including three young children and a teenage boy, were wounded on Sunday in a blast caused by an explosive device just a few kilometres from Saturday’s gun battle. Police were investigating the cause of the explosion.

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