February 11, 2018 / 8:22 AM / 8 days ago

Nine killed as gun battle rages in army camp in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Nine people were killed in a gun battle between Indian soldiers and militants that raged into its second day at an army camp in northern Jammu and Kashmir state, police said.

Militants stormed the Sunjuwan camp in the city of Jammu early on Saturday and hundreds of police and soldiers were rushed in to dislodge the fighters, a home ministry official said.

Five soldiers and a civilian were killed, as were three militants, a senior police officer said.

Officials said an unknown number of attackers were cornered inside the camp’s residential complex on Sunday.

“The terrorists entered the family accommodation complex after which a quick response team cordoned off the area and isolated the terrorists inside the camp,” said a senior government official.

An Indian army vehicle moves outside their camp after suspected militants attacked the camp on Saturday, in Jammu February 11, 2018. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

The director general of police for Jammu and Kashmir, S P Vaid, said communications intercepts “suggest that the terrorists involved in the attack belong to Jaish-e-Mohammad group,” a Pakistan-based separatist militant organisation.

Army spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand said the three dead militants were wearing fatigues and had assault rifles, a grenade launcher and grenades.

Slideshow (4 Images)

Authorities said most of the 170 houses in the complex had been cleared and the occupants had moved out.

The army camp is close to two shopping centres and public schools. A curfew has been imposed parts of the city.

India accuses Pakistan of training and arming militants and helping them infiltrate across the Line of Control that divides the Kashmir region. Pakistan denies the allegations.

The South Asian neighbours have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.

Additional reporting and writing by Rupam Jain in New Delhi; Editing by Tom Lasseter and Andrew Heavens

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