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Militants attack Indian military base in Kashmir. 3 soldiers, 2 attackers killed in shootout

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Srinagar — Militants attacked an Indian army post in the disputed Kashmir region on Thursday, killing three soldiers and killing two attackers ahead of India's Independence Day celebrations.

The attack in the Rajuri district, India's only Muslim-majority district, took place early in the morning and was later followed by security forces. The area around the post was off-limits as troops conducted a search, military officials told Reuters.

"In the attack he killed three soldiers and wounded two others. But the army fought back and killed two militants," the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak. Just days after the Indian government's revocation of Kashmir's constitutional autonomy, the attack was sandwiched between two important dates, with India due to celebrate its 75th anniversary of independence from British colonial rule on Monday.

Many Kashmiris saw the loss of special autonomy as another step in India's Hindu nationalist government's erosion of Muslim rights. . The government rejected it, saying it would promote development in the region by bringing it closer to the rest of the country.

Pakistan, both sides claim wholly but partially control.

Holding areas dominated by Hindus, Pakistan controls a wedge of territory in the west and its ally China holds a sparsely populated highland region in the north of the mostly Buddhist Ladakh region.

(Reporting by Fayaz Bukhari of him in Srinagar; Written by Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)