Militants kill seven in attack on Indian Kashmir base: Police

SRINAGAR, India - Militants disguised as soldiers killed seven people in an attack on a police base in Indian Kashmir Thursday, days before long-awaited talks between the leaders of India and Pakistan, police said.

The militants, all wearing army fatigues, lobbed grenades and opened fire at the Hiranagar police station, around 200 kilometres (126 miles) from the main city of Srinagar, an officer in the police control room said.

"We can confirm that five policemen and two civilians have been killed in the attack," the officer told AFP.

The attackers escaped after hijacking a truck and were now engaged in a fierce gunbattle with Indian troops in the Samba district of Kashmir, the NDTV news network and other local media reported.

It was not immediately clear how many militants were involved in the attack.

The attack will cast a shadow over an expected meeting this weekend between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, the first such top-level talks in three years.

Kashmir, a picturesque Himalayan territory, is divided between India and Pakistan by a de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC) but it is claimed in full by both countries.

More than a dozen armed rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces since 1989 for the region's independence or its merger with Pakistan.