Militants Storm Indian Army Base, Killing Soldiers and a Civilian

A brazen weekend attack by heavily armed militants who stormed an Indian army base in the Jammu region killed at least five soldiers and a civilian, army officials said Sunday.

It was one of the deadliest attacks on the army in recent years, and Indian officials blamed a Pakistan-based militant group.

The target of the attack early Saturday was the base of the army’s 36th Brigade, which houses more than 3,500 troops.

Indian officials said the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad, led by Maulana Masood Azhar, was behind the attack. The group has carried out similar attacks in the Indian-administrated portion of Kashmir, particularly along the Line of Control that divides Kashmir into two parts, held by India and Pakistan.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack this weekend, however.

The attack began around 4:55 a.m. Saturday as four militants dressed in army uniforms and armed with AK-47 assault rifles and grenades descended on Chennai, a small village on the outskirts of Jammu City, said Abdul Rehman Veeri, parliamentary affairs minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The village is among those closest to the de facto border with Pakistan.

The militants entered the family quarters of the army officers, gunning down two soldiers and injuring at least nine other people, including women and children, army officials said.

The militants were cornered and later killed in a residential complex of the camp when the army deployed Special Forces that engaged in a firefight that lasted more than 24 hours, an army spokesman in Jammu, Lt. Col. Devender Anand, said.

“The militants entered into the residential quarters where they targeted the family members of the army personnel. A junior commissioned officer and a noncommissioned officer were killed in the attack,” police said.

The death toll stood at 10 people: five soldiers, four militants and the father of a soldier, officials said.

The attack is likely to raise tensions between India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since independence, two of them over Kashmir. New Delhi has often blamed militant groups in Pakistan for sponsoring militant attacks in the region.

This article originally appeared in
The New York Times.

SAMEER YASIR © 2018 The New York Times

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