Top rebel leader killed in gunbattle in Indian Kashmir, police say

Indian forces killed a top commander of the largest Kashmiri separatist group in a gunbattle in the restive Himalayan region, police said Sunday. Farooq Ahmed Dar, the financial chief of the militant group Hezb-ul-Mujahedeen, was one of two Islamic militants killed in the battle Saturday in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, said Hemant Lohia, a senior police officer. "His killing is a big blow to the militants," Lohia said. Hezb-ul-Mujahedeen, which has been tied to dozens of bombings and violent attacks in a deadly campaign against Indian rule in the region, had no immediate response to the reported death. It was not possible to contact the group for confirmation of the report.