Rebels storm army base, kill soldiers
SRINAGAR, India (AP): REBELS FIGHTING against Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir stormed a crucial Indian military base yesterday, triggering a fierce gun battle that left at least seven army soldiers and three militants dead, officials said.
At the same time in another part of Kashmir, Indian border forces came across three suspected militants who had allegedly crossed the border from Pakistan into India, touching off another exchange of fire in which all three were killed, paramilitary officials said.
The renewed violence followed a five-day lull in fighting between Indian and Pakistani troops, who have been exchanging heavy mortar and artillery fire for months across the de facto border that divides Kashmir between the two nations. India has accused Pakistan of helping anti-India rebels stage deadly attacks on its military compounds – an allegation Pakistan denies.
Early Tuesday, at least two to four militants disguised in police uniforms opened fire on the military camp in Nagrota, a town on the main highway connecting Kashmir’s two main cities of Srinagar and Jammu, according to senior police officer K. Rajendra.
The militants then stormed the base and made their way inside the camp, lobbing grenades and drawing troops into exchanging fire, said another police officer, S.P. Vaid.
An Indian army statement on Tuesday evening said the militants “forced their entry into officers’ mess complex by throwing grenades and firing at the sentries”, leaving four soldiers dead, including an officer.
It said the attackers later entered two army buildings, leading to a “hostage-like situation”.
The statement said in the subsequent operation an army officer and two more soldiers were killed, but the soldiers rescued 12 soldiers, two women and two children from the buildings.