SRINAGAR, India (AFP) – Militants attacked an army patrol in Indian Kashmir on Thursday, leaving one soldier and three civilians dead as fighting continued near the border with rival Pakistan, security officials said.
The attack coincides with a regional summit in Nepal attended by the leaders of India and Pakistan, which threatens to end in failure because of rising tensions between the arch-rivals.
The group of heavily armed militants attacked the army column near a base in the town of Arnia in Indian Kashmir, about four kilometres from the undisputed, internationally-recognised border with Pakistan.
“A soldier died in the initial attack and another was injured,” said an army officer on condition of anonymity, although police put the number of injured soldiers at two.
Three civilians were killed in crossfire and three militants shot dead in the attack which occurred early in the morning, local deputy inspector general of police Shakeel Beig said.
“So far three local civilians and three militants have died,” Beig told AFP.
The rebels, suspected to have crossed from Pakistan, entered an “abandoned bunker” which Indian forces then surrounded, triggering the ongoing gun battle.
“They are a group of four to six militants now firing from inside the bunker,” Beig said.