SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Two paramilitary soldiers and a suspected rebel were killed in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Wednesday when a convoy of troops was ambushed in the troubled region, police said.
At least eight soldiers were wounded in the attack, said police Director-General K. Rajendra. A rebel who had abducted three civilians while trying to escape from the scene of the ambush was captured and his hostages freed, he said.
Meanwhile, two boys aged 10 and 11 were killed in a blast which occurred when they were playing with an explosive device they found in the Ganderbal area, police said.
A third child was seriously wounded, an officer said on customary condition of anonymity.
Violence in the region has escalated in recent weeks, with regular skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani troops stationed along the heavily militarized frontier. India and Pakistan have fought two wars over their competing claims to Kashmir and each administers part of it.
In the latest violence, militants hid in maize fields and sprayed bullets at a Border Security Force convoy near Udhampur, a garrison town on the main highway connecting the disputed territory with the rest of India, said senior police officer Danish Rana.
The gunbattle ended early Wednesday afternoon and troops were checking the area for any remaining attackers, Rajendra said.
No rebel group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Tuesday, at least three civilians were killed as government forces on the two sides traded gunfire and mortar shells.
A 2003 cease-fire between India and Pakistan has largely held despite small but regular skirmishes.
Rebel groups have been fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir since 1989. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the fighting and in a subsequent Indian military crackdown.