Militants ambush security convoy in Kashmir, killing two

SRINAGAR: Militants ambushed a convoy carrying paramilitary forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Friday, killing two security officers and wounding seven others, police said.

The militants escaped after carrying out the attack on the outskirts of Srinagar, summer capital of India's Jammu and Kashmir state, a senior police officer told Reuters.

Security forces were searching for the gunmen, he said, asking not to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media. The two dead included a paramilitary officer and a policeman who died in hospital.

Militants fighting Indian rule in Kashmir have carried out several attacks in recent weeks, the largest of which was a September 18 raid on an Indian army base that killed 19 soldiers.

India blamed that attack on militants crossing over from the part of Kashmir controlled by Pakistan, quickly ratcheting up tensions between the two countries. Pakistan denies any involvement in the assault.

New Delhi said in late September that its troops had crossed into Pakistan's side of Kashmir and launched retaliatory "surgical strikes" to kill suspected militants, an operation Pakistan says never took place.

Nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan have been at odds over Kashmir ever since their independence nearly 70 years ago, fighting two of their three wars over the region that they each rule in part but claim in full.

India accuses Pakistan of backing separatists and helping them sneak across the border. Pakistan denies this, saying it only offers moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people in their campaign for self-determination.

On Wednesday, gunmen shot dead a political party worker in Indian-ruled Kashmir, hours after two suspected militants were killed by armed forces following a 56-hour operation on the edge of Srinagar.

The attacks on Indian security targets come amid three months of protests, spearheaded by local youth in the region, that erupted after Indian forces killed a Kashmiri separatist leader in early July.