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Prominent Muslim Cleric Killed in Kashmir Blast

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Police say a bomb blast outside a mosque in Indian-controlled Kashmir has killed a prominent Muslim cleric.

Authorities say Moulvi Showkat Ahmed Shah was on his way to lead Friday prayers at the mosque in Kashmir's main city of Srinagar when he was hit by the blast. Police say explosives may have been attached to a bicycle.

No one claimed immediate responsibility for the attack.

Shah was chief of the religious group Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadith and considered a moderate separatist leader with close ties to the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front.

He had been targeted in the past by militants.

Shah was in favor of Kashmir's independence from India, but condemned the common practice of throwing stones at government forces during anti-India protests.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both.

Muslim separatists in Indian Kashmir have been fighting for independence from India or a merger with Pakistan since 1989. More than 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Article by VOA News