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India Kills Top Rebel Leader In Kashmir, Braces For Protests

A protest in Srinagar, May 24, 2016
A protest in Srinagar, May 24, 2016

Indian security officials said they killed a prominent rebel leader in the troubled Himalayan region of Kashmir and are imposing a curfew in the area to hold down protests on July 9.

Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a commander of the Pakistan-allied rebel group Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed on July 8 along with two other militants, they said.

Indian police described the killing as a "major success against militants in Kashmir," where the majority of people are Muslim and sympathetic to the rebels. Indian authorities had offered a reward for Wani's capture.

Authorities imposed a curfew and mobile internet services were blocked in the southern Kashmir valley starting July 9, and the annual pilgrimage to the Hindu Amarnath shrine was suspended.

Protesters took to the streets after news of Wani's death spread in the region, which is divided between Pakistan and India and claimed in entirety by both.

Demonstrators shouted pro-Pakistan slogans and burned tires in Srinagar.

Wani, 22, featured prominently in propaganda for his group and was a household name. In a recent video, he called on militants to attack local policemen who supported what he called the Indian occupation of Kashmir.

Based on reporting by AP, dpa, and Reuters