At least eight Indian security personnel and two suspected gunmen were killed after rebels attacked a police camp in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Heavily armed attackers stormed the base in Pulwama town of southern Kashmir on Saturday in the biggest strike on a government compound in the disputed region in nearly a year.
Hundreds of security personnel from the state and paramilitary police are stationed at the camp.
“After forcing their entry into the complex, the militants opened indiscriminate firing and lobbed grenades,” a police official told dpa news agency on condition of anonymity.
In the initial attack, two paramilitary personnel and one policeman were killed. In the ensuing gunfight inside the camp, three more policemen and two paramilitary soldiers were killed, director general of police, SP Vaid, told AP news agency.
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The exact number of attackers inside the compound is not known, India’s federal home ministry said in a statement.
Government forces evacuated dozens of families from the camp’s residential block, Vaid said.
The attack on the police complex is the biggest on a state security facility since September last year, when armed rebels broke into an army camp near the de facto border, called the Line of Control (LoC), in Uri, killing 18 army personnel.
Indian-administered Kashmir has seen a violent secessionist movement since the mid-1980s, leaving more than 44,000 rebels, security force personnel, and civilians dead.
Indian troops have killed 134 rebels, including seven top commanders, this year, officials said.
The majority of those were eliminated in the last two months after security forces doubled down on an offensive in south Kashmir and along the LoC.
India accuses Pakistan of training and arming the rebels and separatist leaders, but Islamabad denies the allegations and calls them “freedom fighters”.
The South Asian rivals fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.
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Source: News agencies