Thursday, March 14, 2013

Five killed in militant attack on Kashmir police camp

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Two militants wielding automatic rifles opened fire on a paramilitary camp on the Indian side of the disputed region of Kashmir on Wednesday, killing five Indian personnel and wounding five, police said.

The militants were killed in a gunfight that ensued at the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) base just outside the restive city of Srinagar, under curfew for much of the last few weeks following protests and clashes with police.

Jammu and Kashmir state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, describing the assault as a "suicide attack", said five CRPF personnel and three civilians were also wounded.

"A division of the CRPF was deployed at a camp here and children were playing cricket in the field when two militants fired grenades and attacked our division," Abdul Gani Mir, Inspector General of Police, told Reuters TV.

"We have lost five of our CRPF personnel who gunned down the two militants."

Police said it was not immediately clear if more than two militants were involved in the attack, which began when the gunmen alighted from a car outside the camp, walked to its entrance and shot a sentry dead before firing indiscriminately into the base.

Militants often attacked security bases in Kashmir during the 1990s, when there was a full-blown insurgency against Indian rule in a region over which India and Pakistan fought two of their three wars. But there have been very few in recent years.

Tensions have been running high in Srinagar since last month, when India hanged a Kashmiri man for an attack on the country's parliament in 2001. The authorities have sought to quash clashes between protesters and police by imposing curfews in the city.

(Reporting by Fayaz Bukhari; Additional reporting by Ashok Pahalwan in JAMMU, India; Writing by John Chalmers; Editing by Ron Popeski)


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