-Reuters Photo

SRINAGAR: The Indian army says soldiers have shot and killed four suspected rebels who allegedly intruded into the Indian portion of Kashmir from Pakistani territory to attack government forces and targets.

Army spokesman Lt Col J S Brar says the incident occurred Thursday in the Uri sector close to a cease-fire line dividing Kashmir between longtime rivals India and Pakistan.

There was no independent confirmation of the gunbattle.

Since 1989, a violent separatist insurgency seeking Kashmir's independence or merger with Pakistan and the ensuing crackdown by Indian forces have killed nearly 68,000 people in Kashmir.

Indian authorities say the number of attacks by the insurgents has been reduced substantially following an improvement in ties with Pakistan.

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