At least three Indian soldiers and two suspected rebels were killed in Indian-administered Kashmir after fighters stormed a military camp close to the heavily militarised Line of Control dividing the disputed region, Indian officials said.
The fighters used guns and grenades to target soldiers in Panzgam, northwest of Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, said army spokesman Rajesh Kalia.
A group of at least three fighters hurled grenades and fired automatic weapons at the sentry of the highly guarded army camp, a police officer said, speaking to AP news agency on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to speak to the media.
Two fighters were killed in an ensuing gunfight while another was believed to have escaped, the officer said.
He confirmed that three soldiers, including an army officer, were killed and said that five soldiers wounded in the attack were airlifted to the Indian army’s main base in Srinagar for specialised treatment.
There was no independent confirmation of the incident and no rebel group fighting against Indian rule has immediately issued any statement.
India and Pakistan each administer a portion of Kashmir, but both claim the territory in its entirety. Most people in the Indian-controlled portion favour independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the rebel uprising and a subsequent Indian military crackdown.
Rebel groups have largely been suppressed by Indian forces in recent years. However, public opposition to Indian rule remains deep and is now principally expressed through street protests marked by youths hurling stones at government forces.
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Street protests flared in recent weeks as thousands of Kashmiris vented anger against alleged abuses by Indian forces after a video emerged of a local man tied to the front of an army jeep and used as a human shield.
In an attempt to contain the protests and limit the circulation of videos, India on Wednesday said it would block 22 social media websites in Kashmir for a month.