Dar Yasin  /  AP
Soldiers stand near a vehicle damaged when an explosion targeted Indian troops.
updated 7/19/2008 2:38:52 PM ET 2008-07-19T18:38:52

A bomb exploded near an army convoy in Indian Kashmir on Saturday, killing at least ten soldiers and wounding 14 others, a police official said.

The bomb was apparently buried along a highway north of Srinagar, the main city in Indian Kashmir, and exploded as the army convoy passed nearby, senior police official Botlaguduru Srinivas said.

At least seven soldiers were in "very critical condition," Srinivas said. The Indian military confirmed that 10 soldiers were killed and 14 wounded in a statement released Saturday.

The blast created a huge crater in the road, which was stained with blood and strewn with the wounded soldiers' equipment. It was one of the worst attacks since 2005, when militants frequently used roadside bombs to attack Indian troops.

Hezb-ul-Mujahedeen, Indian Kashmir's largest rebel group, claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to Current News Service — a local news agency — by a man who gave his name as Ahsan-ul-Haque and identified himself as a spokesman for the militants.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and is claimed by both.

About a dozen rebel groups have been fighting Indian government forces to carve out a separate homeland or to merge the region with Pakistan. At least 68,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed since the start of the rebellion in 1989.

On Friday, a grenade attack near Srinagar wounded 35 people.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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