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Militants attack Indian army brigade HQ in Kashmir, nine dead

Militants attack Indian army brigade HQ in Kashmir, nine dead

SRINAGAR: Militants attacked an Indian army brigade headquarters near the de factor border with Pakistan on Sunday, sources said, killing at least nine soldiers in the most serious such attack in the northern region of Kashmir since 2014.

Indian army sources said between four and six “fidayeen” or commando-style gunmen willing to fight to the death were believed to have penetrated the brigade headquarters in Uri near the Line of Control with Pakistan.

The encounter was continuing, with the army deploying helicopters to evacuate 20 soldiers who had been injured in the dawn attack, the sources said, adding that the toll may rise. The army made no official comment.

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Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in a series of Twitter posts that he had spoken to the region’s political and military leadership and senior officials were monitoring the situation. He canceled planned trips to Russia and the United States.

The rebels sneaked into the army’s infantry base in Uri, about 100 kilometres west of the main city of Srinagar, where hundreds of soldiers and senior army officers are stationed.

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Army spokesman Colonel S D Goswami said the rebels first attacked a base of an infantry battalion close to the dividing line known as the Line of Control or LoC.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the two gained independence from British rule in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in full.

Indian-administered Kashmir has been in the grip of widespread protests against Indian rule for more than two months, sparked by the killing of a popular rebel leader in a gun battle with soldiers on July 8.

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At least 87 civilians have been killed and thousands injured in the deadly protests and clashes, the worst violence to hit the region since 2010.

Several rebel groups have for decades fought Indian soldiers currently numbering around 500,000 deployed in the territory, demanding independence for the region or its merger with Pakistan.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting.

Courtesy : Express Tribune



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