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Indian forces end three-day gunbattle in disputed Kashmir

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Indian army soldiers take positions against militants in a gunbattle on the outskirts of Srinagar on February 22, 2016. (AFP photo)

Indian security forces have ended a three-day gunbattle, after killing all militants who stormed a government-run facility in the disputed Kashmir region.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Ghulam Hassan Bhat said on Monday that troops killed the militants, believed to be anti-India rebels, holed up in the five-storey building on the outskirts of Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar.

"The encounter is over. All three militants have been killed," the senior police official said

This came after the assailants attacked a military convoy before storming a government-run training facility in the disputed region on Saturday. The ensuing clashes left dead three Indian army commandos, two policemen and a civilian.

Indian forces fired mortar bombs, while the Kashmiris responded with automatic weapons and hand grenades during the three-day long violent clashes.

About 120 people, who were inside the complex at the time of the attack, were evacuated.

Smoke rises from an Indian government building where Kashmiri militants took refuge during a gunbattle on the outskirts of Srinagar on February 22, 2016. (AFP photo)

The incident came as Indian troops are also in constant clashes with the armed groups seeking independence across the Muslim-majority valley of Kashmir.

The New Delhi government has deployed large contingents of police and paramilitary troops in the troubled region to prevent street demonstrations. 

Kashmir lies at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute since India and Pakistan became independent in 1947. Cross-border frictions have recently flared up between troops from the two neighbors along the disputed de facto border in Kashmir. The two sides have accused each other of provocation.

New Delhi and Islamabad both claim the region in full, but rule parts of it. The two countries have fought two wars over the disputed region.

India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire in Kashmir on November 26, 2003, and launched a peace process the following year. Since then, there have been sporadic clashes, with the two sides trading accusations of violating the ceasefire along their de facto border dividing the disputed region.

Thousands of people have been killed in the unrest in Kashmir over the past two decades.

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