Seven Rebels, One Soldier Killed In Disputed Kashmir

At least seven rebels and an Indian Army soldier were killed in gun battles in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, sparking violent protests by residents opposed to Indian rule.

Police in the town of Shopian, in India-controlled Kashmir, exchanged fire with rebels, killing five late on August 3.

The gun battle triggered protests and clashes as hundreds of residents tried to help the rebels escape.

Government forces fired warning shots, shotgun pellets, and tear gas at the stone-throwing protesters, injuring at least 15 people, three of them critically.

Separately, two rebels and an Indian soldier were killed in the northwestern Sopore area on August 3.

Kashmir has been divided between Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947. Both claim the region in its entirety and have fought two wars over it.

There have been renewed rebel attacks and protests against Indian rule in the Indian-controlled portion in recent years, and Indian and Pakistani forces have often clashed.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa