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Kashmir Skirmishes Exacerbate India-Pakistan Tensions

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

NEW DELHI, India -- A series of brazen infiltration attempts by militant groups in Indian Kashmir have resulted in fierce gun battles with security forces, and threaten to exacerbate already tense relations between India and Pakistan. The skirmishes come amid fears of militant attacks on prominent political leaders as the campaign for India's parliamentary elections gets under way.

A five-day gun battle in north Kashmir's Kupwara region left 17 militants as well as eight Indian Army commandos dead in the last week of March. The militants were part of an unusually large group of 25 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) operatives trying to enter the volatile province. Bearing out LeT warnings of more such confrontations in the days to come, a second battle with another group of heavily armed militants erupted in Gurez almost as soon as the first had ended. ...

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