- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2003

NEW DELHI, March 16 (UPI) — At least nine Indian policemen and two civilians were killed Sunday when suspected Islamic rebels raided a police post in the Indian administered Kashmir region.

Police officials said that a group of heavily armed rebels attacked a police post in Gool village of Udhampur district and killed the policemen with indiscriminate firing.

At least two civilians were killed in the crossfire when Indian troops retaliated.

Police sources said that the rebels fired automatic weapons and also threw hand grenades at the police. Additional troops have been sent to the site to comb the treacherous mountains to nab the attackers who escaped in the early morning darkness.

Police officials believe that the rebel attack may have been in retaliation for the killing of Amanullah, a suspected leader of the Pakistan-based Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen group whom police killed last week.

Armed rebels have attacked several police posts and Indian army installations in recent months across Kashmir, which is claimed by both India and Pakistan.

More than 37,000 people have been killed in the 14-year-old separatist Islamic uprising. Rebels put the toll at 80,000.

India accuses neighboring Pakistan for abetting the Islamic uprising, a charge Islamabad denies.

More than a dozen odd Islamic groups are fighting to end New Delhi's rule in Kashmir saying the Muslim majority Kashmir province must get independence or merge with Islamic Pakistan.

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