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5 soldiers killed in Kashmir attack

SRINAGAR, India — Five soldiers were killed and seven others wounded Monday in an attack by suspected rebels on an army convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir on the eve of a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The attack came even though government forces had intensified their patrols ahead of Singh’s visit to prevent protests and attacks by rebels fighting against Indian rule.

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Singh’s two-day visit, which starts Tuesday, also follows a weekend attack in which militants shot and killed two police officers in Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar.

Police detained scores of separatist activists, frisked residents, and searched cars as part of security measures. ‘‘We’re taking all possible security measures to have an incident-free visit by the prime minister,’’ said Ashok Prasad, director general of police.

But an army officer said that suspected rebels fired at an army convoy on a highway on the outskirts of Srinagar late Monday, killing the five soldiers and critically wounding the others. The officer was speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

In a second attack further along the same highway, militants lobbed a grenade at security forces, critically wounding a paramilitary officer, a police official said.

Singh will inaugurate part of a rail line that connects southern and northern Kashmir, and meet officials to review development projects.

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