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Pakistan detains militant leader

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan announced Tuesday that it had detained the leader of an Islamic organization blamed by India for the suicide attack on the Indian parliament earlier this month.

Masood Azhar leader of the militant Jaish-e-Mohammed (Army of Mohammed) has been put under "preventative detention" said Pakistani spokesman Gen. Rashid Qureshi.

The move comes amid increasing tensions along the India-Pakistan border with both sides placing their forces on high alert and sending in thousands of reinforcements.

Responding to what he called the "massive movements" of Indian troops along the border, Qureshi warned Pakistan was taking "appropriate measures" to counter the build up, but gave no further details.

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Suhasini Haidar reports from New Delhi on Tuesday's deaths
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India has blamed two groups -- the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (Army of the Righteous) -- for the suicide attack and accuses Pakistan of supporting the groups and giving their leaders sanctuary.

It has demanded Islamabad act quickly to close down what it says are terrorist groups, freeze their funds and arrest their leaders.

Both groups have denied involvement in the suicide attack.

Assets frozen

On Monday Pakistan announced it was freezing the assets of the second group, despite the fact that officials said India had not provided any evidence of its involvement in the attack.

"They haven't provided any evidence at all," said Pakistan's Information Secretary Anwar Mahmood.

"We have been telling them they should provide evidence to a third party ... if that neutral committee finds someone responsible, certainly we will act."

With tensions high on the India-Pakistan border Indian police told CNN that two Indian army soldiers had been killed in the latest of a series of exchanges of fire.

The soldiers were killed in the Samba region of the Indian-controlled part of the disputed region of Kashmir.

Two men and one woman were wounded in the same fighting although it is not clear if they were military personnel or civilians.

Civilians flee homes

Border skirmishes are common between India and Pakistan along the frontier in Kashmir -- a disputed Himalayan province that has been the flashpoint of two wars since independence from Britain in 1947.

But the clashes have become more frequent amid rising tensions since the attack on the Indian parliament.

Both countries have put their border troops on high alert deploying hundreds of reinforcements.

Fearing an escalation of the conflict hundreds of civilians have begun leaving their homes near the so-called Line of Control in Kashmir that divides the two countries.

More than 2,000 villagers in the Galahar sector, 45 kilometers (30 miles) south of Jammu, the winter capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state, have evacuated and moved to safer places, The Associated Press reported.

Officials say several hundred of them have been sheltered in a government school building.

Upping the stakes between the nuclear rivals over the weekend India recalled its ambassador to Islamabad and on Monday ordered the expulsion of a Pakistani diplomat.

It also said its troops had destroyed several Pakistani bunkers in exchanges of fire, but Pakistan has denied that accusing Indian forces of targeting civilians killing two and wounding four others.



 
 
 
 



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