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Land mine shatters Kashmir cease-fire

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Islamic militant group claims responsibility for deadly blast

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- A Muslim militant group underlined its rejection of India's unilateral cease-fire in Kashmir by setting off a deadly land mine on Tuesday, killing at least two Indian soldiers and wounding another 12 in the disputed Himalayan region.

Minutes after the land mine explosion, Indian security forces said they killed five militants attempting to infiltrate the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir from the Pakistani controlled portion.

The Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir -- just under half of the region -- is India's only Muslim-majority state.

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CNN's Satinder Bindra reports on the developments in Kashmir

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Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee announced the truce, to run through the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and possibly longer. But, he said, Indian soldiers and paramilitary forces would defend themselves if attacked.

Militant groups said they would not accept the cease-fire, and vowed to continue their operations.

The Hezb-ul Mujahedeen said it blew up an Indian Army vehicle in Duru village in Anantnag in the Indian-held portion of Kashmir. Hezb-ul Mujahedeen refers to Anantnag as the Islamabad district.

Hezb-ul Mujahedeen, one of several groups battling for Kashmir's independence from India or merger with Pakistan, declared a cease-fire earlier this year, but broke off talks with India's government when India refused to include Pakistan in the negotiations.

India has accused Pakistan of backing the insurgency, which has left more than 30,000 people dead in 11 years of bitter fighting.

But the war-torn region has been the focus of enmity between India and Pakistan for nearly all of the two nations' half-century existence. Two of three wars fought between the two were set off by the conflict.

CNN New Delhi Bureau Chief Satinder Bindra and Reuters contributed to this report.

ASIANOW


RELATED STORIES:
India's cease-fire comes into force in Kashmir
November 27, 2000
Violence flares in Kashmir despite peace move
November 26, 2000
India goes ahead with Kashmir cease-fire
November 25, 2000
Kashmir militants consider India's proposed Ramadan truce
November 24, 2000
India says Kashmir truce risky, but decision made
November 23, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India
Indian Prime Minister's Office
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Kashmir Times
Press Trust of India
Army in Kashmir: The Truth About Kashmir
Kashmir Information Network



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