Separatist rebel leader gunned down

Indian government forces killed a top Islamic guerrilla leader during a raid early today on his hide-out in India’s troubled Jammu-Kashmir, police said.

Indian government forces killed a top Islamic guerrilla leader during a raid early today on his hide-out in India’s troubled Jammu-Kashmir, police said.

Identified as Shakil Ansari of the Pakistan-based Hezb-ul-Mujahedeen, the largest Kashmiri rebel group, he put up a brief gunfight in Pandachh, a village on the outskirts of Srinagar, according to K. Rajindra, a senior police officer.

Rajindra said Ansari was the second top rebel leader to be killed by security forces in less than a week.

Paramilitary forces claimed to have killed Abdul Rashid, a top military commander of the group, last Thursday.

Hezb-ul-Mujahedeen is one of more than a dozen separatist rebel groups fighting for the independence of India’s only Muslim-majority state or its merger with mostly Muslim Pakistan.

More than 65,000 people – most of them civilians – have been killed in the conflict since 1989.

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