Indian police say 4 suspected rebels killed in Kashmir

NEW DELHI (AP) — Police in Indian-controlled Kashmir said government forces killed four suspected militants in a gunbattle on Wednesday.

A top police officer, Mukesh Singh, said troops intercepted a truck in the outskirts of Jammu city early Wednesday following its “unusual movement” on a highway.

As the troops began searching the truck, gunfire came from inside it, to which the troops retaliated, leading to a gunfight, Singh told reporters.

Police said four suspected militants were killed and authorities recovered at least eight automatic rifles and some ammunition from the truck.

According to police, the driver of the truck escaped and a search was under way to find him.

There was no independent confirmation of the alleged gunbattle.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim the disputed territory in its entirety.

Rebels in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir have been fighting New Delhi’s rule since 1989. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

India insists the Kashmir militancy is Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris consider it a legitimate freedom struggle. Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.