Seventeen Indian soldiers, 4 militants killed in Kashmir attack

World Sunday 18/September/2016 11:36 AM
By: Times News Service
Seventeen Indian soldiers, 4 militants killed in Kashmir attack

Srinagar: Militants attacked an Indian army brigade headquarters near the de factor border with Pakistan on Sunday, killing 17 soldiers in one of the most deadly attacks in the northern region of Kashmir in a quarter-century-old insurgency.
Four "fidayeen" - or commando-style gunmen willing to fight to the death - were confirmed killed after penetrating the base in Uri near the Line of Control with Pakistan, an Indian army spokesman said. Television reporters at the scene said the dawn raid had surprised soldiers in their sleep.
The attackers set fire to one building before the four were killed in a gunfight that lasted several hours. An army spokesman confirmed that the number of soldiers killed in the attack had risen to 17, making the toll far worse than a similar raid on an army base in Punjab state in January that India has blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
The army deployed helicopters to evacuate soldiers who had been injured as an operation continued to secure the area.
The Defence Ministry in New Delhi put the number of wounded at 35. The raid comes amid heightened tension in India's only Muslim-majority region, which has faced more than two months of protests following the July 8 killing of a popular separatist commander.
At least 78 civilians have been killed and thousands injured in street clashes with the Indian security forces, who have been criticised by human rights groups for using excessive force including shotguns that fire pellets that have blinded people.
Force activation
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in a series of Twitter posts that he had spoken to the region's political and military leadership and instructed senior officials to monitor the situation. He cancelled planned trips to Russia and the United States. "We have activated the entire force in and around Uri sector to step up security and launch combing operations," a senior Home Ministry official told Reuters.
"It is clearly a case of cross-border terror attack. We don't know which militant group is involved," this official added. There has been no claim of responsibility.