SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir

Three Indian paramilitary troopers were killed in an attack by insurgents in Indian-administered Kashmir on Tuesday, a spokesman said.

Militants fired at a group of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers in the Handwara area of the Kupwara district, killing three, CRPF spokesman Junaid Khan told Anadolu Agency.

After the shootout, the body of Hazim Shafi Bhat, 14, was found near the scene. Ghulam Muhammad, who lives in boy’s neighborhood, told Anadolu Agency that Hazim and some other boys from his village had taken cattle to graze. The boy had suffered bullet injuries, Muhammad said.

The shootout was the third major incident this year in Kupwara, which shares a border with Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

During a gunfight in the same district on Sunday, four army soldiers, including a high-profile colonel, and a police officer were killed by militants. Two of the militants had been killed.

The CRPF had lost three men in a similar attack in the Sopore area in the northern Baramulla district on April 18. At a procession for the killed troopers, CPRF inspector general Rajesh Yadav told reporters that his force would “avenge the killings soon.”

On April 4, five Indian commandos were killed, as well as five militants New Delhi said had entered Indian-administered Kashmir from the Pakistani side, in a separate clash.

The commandos were reportedly elite Indian para-special forces.

Neither militants nor government forces have ceased their operations during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.

According to police, April had seen a spike in violence with 25 militants, nine Indian personnel and a civilian were killed.

Jammu and Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts, and claimed by both in full. A small sliver is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought four wars – in 1948, 1965, 1971, and 1999 – three of them over Kashmir.

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

According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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