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Attack kills two at Kashmir resort

india Updated: Jul 20, 2008 20:54 IST

AFP
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An Indian tourist and a Kashmiri boy were killed in a grenade explosion at the revolt-hit region's main mountain resort Sunday, the third attack in three days, police and witnesses said.

The latest violence comes a day before top Indian and Pakistani diplomats are due to meet in New Delhi for the fifth round of talks under a peace process launched in 2004.

Police identified the dead as a 35-year-old man from India's Utter Pradesh state and an eight-year-old local Muslim boy.

"The tourist died on the spot, while the boy died in hospital after coming under a hand grenade attack in Gulmarg," police officer Imtiaz Ahmed said.

Gulmarg is a hill station popular among Indian tourists wishing to escape the summer heat of the subcontinent, and is also a well known adventure ski resort in the winter.

It is situated 52 kilometres (32 miles) west of the summer capital Srinagar and close to the Line of Control, the heavily militarised border dividing Kashmir between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan.

The attack came a day after nine Indian soldiers were killed and 16 injured when their bus was hit by an improvised explosive device near Srinagar.

That incident -- claimed by the pro-Pakistan militant group Hizbul Mujahedin -- was the second deadliest against Indian armed forces in the divided state since India and Pakistan started peace talks four years ago.

Thirty-two people, including children and police officers, were hurt Friday in a similar grenade blast at a busy bus station south of Srinagar.

New Delhi will ask Pakistan during Monday's peace talks to curb the growing number of Islamic rebels coming into Indian-Kashmir, the Press Trust of India reported.

India accuses Pakistan of training, arming and funding Islamic rebels battling New Delhi's rule in Indian Kashmir, a charge Islamabad denies.

The scenic Himalayan region has triggered two of the three wars between the two countries since 1947.

Indian foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon will also discuss ways to build confidence between the two estranged neighbours, including new bus links and truck services to boost trade, the report said.

Pakistan's foreign secretary Salman Bashir, who arrived in New Delhi on Sunday, said his country wanted "a peaceful atmosphere" between the two, it added.

Sunday's attack is the first this year to claim a tourist's life.

In 2006 and 2007, a series of grenade attacks directed at Indian visitors left 22, as well as two locals, dead. Dozens of others were wounded in the incidents.