Seventeen soldiers and four suspected rebel fighters have been killed in an attack on an army headquarters in Indian-administered Kashmir, according to a statement by the army’s northern command.

"Four terrorists killed in counter-terrorist operation at Uri. 17 soldiers make the supreme sacrifice," the command said on Twitter on Sunday, referring to the Uri area, about 100 kms west of the troubled northern region's main city of Srinagar.

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The fighters first attacked a frontline base close to the border known as the Line of Control or LoC before moving onto the headquarters, army spokesman Colonel SD Goswami said.

A witness in Uri said earlier in the morning that he could see smoke billowing inside the nearby infantry headquarters and continuous rounds of heavy gunfire could be heard, according to the AFP news agency.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in a series of tweets that he had spoken to the region's military and political leaders about the attack and cancelled planned trips to Russia and the US.

Tens of thousands killed

Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar are to visit Kashmir after the attack, the Indian media said.

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

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Kashmir is divided into two parts, one administered by India and the other by Pakistan.

India claims Pakistan has been supporting a violent secessionist movement in Kashmir. Islamabad has consistently denied this charge. It calls Kashmiri rebels freedom fighters.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting.

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Source: Agencies