Mil­i­tants kill 17 In­dian sol­diers in at­tack

The Myanmar Times - - World -

MIL­I­TANTS killed 17 sol­diers dur­ing a pre-dawn am­bush on an army base in In­dian-ad­min­is­tered Kash­mir yes­ter­day, a ma­jor at­tack in the Hi­malayan re­gion al­ready reel­ing from weeks of deadly un­rest.

The heav­ily armed mil­i­tants snuck across the de facto bor­der with Pak­istan be­fore launch­ing the raid on the in­fantry base hous­ing hun­dreds of sol­diers in Uri, west of the re­gion’s main city of Srinagar, of­fi­cials said.

Four mil­i­tants were killed in the at­tack that saw tents and other tem­po­rary shel­ters ac­com­mo­dat­ing the sol­diers catch fire, the army said in a state­ment.

“The en­counter re­sulted in heavy ca­su­al­ties. We salute the sac­ri­fice of 17 sol­diers who were mar­tyred in the op­er­a­tion.”

Large num­bers of sol­diers are sta­tioned at Uri af­ter fin­ish­ing their tour of duty in the volatile re­gion, where sev­eral rebel groups have been fight­ing troops for decades for in­de­pen­dence of the re­gion or its merger with Pak­istan.

Res­i­dents of nearby Uri town saw smoke bil­low­ing from the base af­ter dawn and heard con­tin­u­ous rounds of heavy gun­fire, while army he­li­copters cir­cled the base over­head.

The re­gion has been in the grip of deadly un­rest for more than two months, with res­i­dents clash­ing al­most daily with se­cu­rity forces in the worst vi­o­lence since 2010.

At least 87 civil­ians have been killed and thou­sands in­jured in the protests against In­dian rule, sparked by the killing of a pop­u­lar rebel leader in a gun bat­tle with sol­diers on July 8.

Yes­ter­day’s raid comes af­ter mil­i­tants launched an au­da­cious at­tack on an In­dian air force base that left seven sol­diers dead in Jan­uary.

In­dia blamed that at­tack in the northern state of Pun­jab on a Pak­istani-based mil­i­tant group and it came days af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi em­barked on a land­mark visit to Pak­istan, rais­ing hopes of im­proved ties. –

Photo: AFP

An In­dian para­mil­i­tary trooper stands guard dur­ing a cur­few in Lal Chowk in Srinagar. In­dian-ad­min­is­tered Kash­mir has been un­der a cur­few since protests broke out over the death of a pop­u­lar young rebel leader in July.

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