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Attack kills 17 police, wounds 6 in Jammu and Kashmir

Kashmiri separatist militants with hands cuffed and face masked, sit in an Indian Border Security Force camp in Srinagar India, on Friday  

NEW DELHI, India -- Seventeen police officers were killed and six were seriously wounded Friday when their convoy was ambushed in the Rajouri district near Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, police there told CNN.

The attack on the convoy took place in a forested area near Manjakot at 4:30 p.m. as the police were traveling to a village in the Rajouri region to check on a militant attack Thursday night that killed two civilians. Manjakot is located 176 kilometers (109 miles) from Jammu, the winter capital of India's Jammu and Kashmir state.

A rocket launcher was used in the attack, police officials in Jammu said. The 17 dead had been sprayed with bullets, they added. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

In another incident Thursday, a convoy of a brigadier general was attacked and a colonel and a policeman were killed, police said.

Kashmir: Where conflict rules

Responsibility for that attack was claimed by Hezb-ul Mujahedeen, a Kashmiri separatist militant group.

Cease-fire expires at end of May

India's cease-fire, or suspension of offensive operations against militants in Kashmir, began on November 28 last year and has been extended three times. The latest extension is till the end of May.

Security forces have arrested 17 militants suspected of carrying out a wave of bloody grenade attacks in violence-torn Kashmir during the past two months.

Several of the dozen-odd militant groups fighting Indian rule in Kashmir are based in Pakistan.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training Muslim separatists operating in Kashmir, a charge Islamabad denies. More than 30,000 people have been killed in separatist violence in Jammu and Kashmir since 1990, authorities say.

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 Producer Haidar Suhasini and Reuters contributed to this report.

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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