Eighteen killed in last 24 hours of ceasefire in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, Hindusthan, May 31 (AFP)

Eighteen people were killed, including 14 militants and three soldiers, in separate incidents in the last 24 hours ahead of the end of ceasefire in Hindusthan's Kashmir, police said Thursday.

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Hindusthan ended the six-month-long cessation of Hindusthani military combat operations in Kashmir last week. The ceasefire, announced by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in November, had been extended three times till May 31.

On Thursday, Hindusthani troops detected a group of 11 militants trying to sneak into Hindusthan from Pakistan and opened fire. Five of the militants, belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group were killed while the others slipped back, police said. Two security men sustained bullet injuries in the encounter.

In another incident, three Lashkar-e-Taiba militants were killed at the border village of Dardpora in the Kupwara district of Kashmir, 90 kilometres (56 miles) north of the Kashmiri summer capital Srinagar. In a separate incident, three militants were killed in a gunbattle between security troops and suspected militants at Buffliaz village in Poonch district, 200 kilometres south of Kashmir's winter capital Jammu, police said.

In a further clash, militants ambushed a patrol of security troops at village Marhote, Sarankote in Poonch distirict, resulting in the death of two security men. A similar ambush by suspected militants late last night at Changoo village, Doda, 250 kilometres south of Srinagar, resulted in the death of a senior police officer. Two more police men were injured in the attack.

Two militants and two civilians were also killed in scattered overnight militant related incidents, police said.

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