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Bomb blast in Jammu Kashmir kills 4 Indian policemen

BOMB BLAST IN JAMMU KASHMIR KILLS 4 INDIAN POLICEMEN

At least four Indian policemen were killed and two others wounded on Saturday in a bomb attack in the disputed Jammu Kashmir region.

Militants carried out an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in a deserted market square in northern Sopore town at 10.30 a.m. local time (0500GMT) when the policemen were carrying out their routine patrol, police officials in the region said.

There were no civilian casualties in the blast as the market was closed to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1993 Sopore massacre in which 57 civilians were killed by the Indian armed forces.

According to reports in the local media, militant outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad claimed responsibility for the attack while speaking to the news agency GNS.

Mehbooba Mufti, chief minister of the Indian-administered region condemned the killings.

"Pained to hear that four policemen have been killed in an IED explosion in Sopore. My deepest condolences to their families," Mufti tweeted.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

The two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- since they were partitioned in 1947, two over Kashmir.

Also in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.

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