SRINAGAR, May 7: Four Indian soldiers, including an officer, and 10 militants were killed in occupied Kashmir, officials said on Wednesday, hours before US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage’s visit to the subcontinent.

Two Indian army soldiers were killed and five others injured when militants ambushed soldiers returning from a search operation in a remote village of the Baramulla district.

Police said militants fired automatic rifles and threw grenades at the army jeeps and trucks. The soldiers retaliated and two militants were killed, an army spokesman said.

A lesser-known group, Al Mansoorian, claimed responsibility for the attack and said at least five soldiers were killed.

Indian troops claimed killing five militants in three encounters in the Poonch district on Tuesday night. A police spokesman said an Indian army major was killed in an ambush in the Rajouri district.

Police said Santosh Kumar, an officer of the Indian army’s special wing, the Rashtriya Rifles, was killed in the first gunbattle.

“The militants managed to flee from the area after inflicting the fatality,” a police spokesman said.

He said in the second encounter, in the neighbouring village of Champora, two members of the Jaish-i-Mohammad, including a senior “commander”, were killed by Indian troops.

Another militant was shot dead by troops in the Budgam district, police said. —AFP

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