Kashmir clashes: Indian soldiers killed in Nagrota camp attack

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An Indian Army soldier takes position inside the 16 corps army headquarters after a militant attack in Nagrota, some 25km from Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir, India, 29 November 2016Image source, EPA
Image caption,
The security operation to repel the attackers has lasted all day

At least seven Indian soldiers have been killed after militants stormed an army camp in Indian-administered Kashmir with grenades and gunfire, the military says.

They took 16 hostages, all of whom were subsequently rescued after fierce gun battles, the Northern Command said.

Three militants were killed in the assault on the camp, in Jammu's Nagrota area.

The attackers were disguised in police uniforms.

The security operation remains in progress as Indian forces seek to "sanitise" the area, the army said on Twitter.

In September, militants attacked a base in Uri and killed 19 soldiers, leading to a spike in cross-border tensions after India blamed Pakistan.

In response, India carried out "surgical strikes" across the border. The army said it had destroyed "terrorist launching pads" used by militants with support from Pakistan, but the Pakistani military disputed this.

On Tuesday, officials told the BBC that heavy firing was taking place after "three to four" militants attacked the camp in Nagrota.

They first attacked an officers' mess complex, killing one officer and three soldiers who tried to repel them. They then took 12 soldiers, two women and two children hostage, all of whom were eventually rescued by soldiers after a gunfight that left another officer and two soldiers dead, the army said.

The morning strike came a month after a similar attack in Baramulla, where one border guard was killed and another wounded.

Separately on Tuesday, Indian border forces killed three suspected militants trying to cross the border from Pakistan, officials said.

Border tensions

Tensions between India and Pakistan, both nuclear-armed powers, have risen significantly since the attack in Uri.

Last week, officials in Pakistan said at least nine people were killed and 11 others injured when cross-border shelling from India hit a passenger bus in the disputed region.

India had earlier vowed to avenge the killing of three soldiers, one of whose bodies it said had been mutilated.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan, a claim Pakistan denies.

Disputed Muslim-majority Kashmir has been a flashpoint for decades and has sparked two wars between India and Pakistan. Both control parts of the disputed territory but claim it in full.