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Gunbattle in Kashmir kills 5


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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Three suspected militants have been killed in a gunbattle with Indian soldiers in the Indian-administered sector of Kashmir, police say.

Two villagers also died when they were caught in the crossfire, which occurred early Tuesday in Qil Muqaba, about 31 miles (50 km) north of Kashmir's summer capital, Srinagar.

Indian officials said the suspected militants were believed to be members of the Islamic Pakistan-based guerrilla group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.

They were holed up in one of the homes in the village as they exchanged fire with the soldiers. The villagers' two homes also were destroyed in the gunbattle.

Kashmir rule is divided between India and Pakistan, but each side claims a right to the entire region.

Islamic militants have been fighting since 1989 to merge India's portion of mostly Muslim Kashmir with Pakistan or make it independent from Hindu-majority India.

Indian authorities say at least 40,000 people have been killed in the revolt, according to Reuters. Separatists put the toll at more than 80,000.

-- Producer Suhasini Haidar contributed to this report


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