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Three men arrested after American woman gang-raped in India

Latest incident just three months after similar attack on Swiss tourist

An American woman was gang-raped today in the northern Indian resort town of Manali, police said.

The 30-year-old woman was picked up early this morning by men in a truck as she was hitchhiking back to her guest house after visiting a friend, police officer Sher Singh said.

Three men have been arrested in connection with the alleged attack, Himachal Pradesh police chief B. Kamal Kumar told Reuters Television in the state capital Shimla.

The woman told police her attackers took her to an isolated area and raped her. The woman was taken to a local hospital for preliminary tests before being taken back to her guest house, said a local police inspector, who declined to be identified.

"We are in contact with authorities but due to issues of privacy we have no further comment," Peter Vrooman, spokesman for the U.S. embassy in New Delhi, said in an email.

In March, a Swiss tourist was gang-raped while on a camping trip in a forest in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. In the same month, a British woman jumped out of her hotel balcony in Uttar Pradesh state to escape a possible sexual assault.

Sex crimes are common in India. The National Crime Records Bureau says more than 24,200 rapes were reported in India in 2011 - one every 20 minutes.

The capital, New Delhi, has the highest number of sex crimes among major cities, with a rape reported on average every 18 hours, according to police figures.

Police are investigating the alleged rape of a 21-year-old Irish woman working as a volunteer with a non-governmental organisation in West Bengal at the weekend.

"Women should observe stringent security precautions, including avoiding use of public transport after dark without the company of known and trustworthy companions," according to a U.S. State Department travel advisory for India.

The gang rape of a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist on a bus on Dec. 16 in New Delhi, brought thousands of people onto the streets in protest and clashes with police for days to demand better law enforcement to fight gender crimes.