Oct 5, 7:22 AM EDT

4 Indian soldiers, 3 rebels killed in Kashmir fighting

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AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan

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SRINAGAR, India (AP) -- Four Indian army soldiers and three suspected rebels were killed in separate clashes in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, police said Monday.

Inspector-General Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani said the soldiers died Monday when militants ambushed troops during a search operation in Hafruda forest near the highly militarized Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Gillani said the militants escaped after attacking the soldiers.

He said three suspected militants were also killed in two separate encounters with government troops.

One of the suspected militants was killed Monday in the Lolab area west of Srinagar, and the two others died in a clash with troops in Tral region late Sunday, he said.

Many people in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir mistrust the government.

Rebels have fought against Indian rule since 1989. More than 68,000 people have died in the uprising and subsequent Indian military crackdown.

The armed rebellion has largely been suppressed, and most public resistance is now expressed in street protests.

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