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SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Separatist militants killed three Indian soldiers in the early hours of Thursday morning in an attack on a military army base in Kashmir, close to a de facto border with Pakistan, the army said.

The two militants who attacked the base at Kupwara were killed as soldiers returned fire, army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Rajesh Kalia said.

Disputed by two nuclear-armed neighbours, the Himalayan region is regarded as one of the world's most dangerous potential flashpoints.

India has heavily militarised its side in order to stop cross-border infiltration that has fuelled a long-running separatist insurgency and to counter Pakistani forces on the other side.

India accuses Pakistan of aiding militant groups, a charge Islamabad denies, but anger against Indian rule is widespread in the Muslim-majority region.

Street protests flared in recent weeks as thousands of Kashmiris vented anger against alleged abuses by Indian forces after a video emerged of a local man tied to the front of an army jeep and used as a human shield.

In an attempt to contain the protests and limit the circulation of videos, India on Wednesday said it would block 22 social media websites in Kashmir for a month.

(Reporting by Fayaz Bukhari; Writing by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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