October 06, 2016 - 7:18 AM
SRINAGAR, India - The Indian army said Thursday it foiled an attack by suspected rebels on an army camp in Indian-controlled Kashmir and separately engaged three groups of militants near the de facto border with Pakistan in the disputed region, killing a total of seven suspected rebels.
Army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia said the militants fired at sentry posts and tried to enter the camp in the forested Langate area early Thursday. The camp is the local headquarters of the counterinsurgency military unit.
He said the soldiers repulsed the attack, killing the suspected rebels. Three automatic rifles and ammunition were recovered from their bodies, he said.
The army suffered no casualties, Kalia said.
Separately Thursday, soldiers intercepted three groups of suspected militants at two locations along the highly militarized Line of Control that divides the Indian and Pakistani-controlled portions of Kashmir, killing at least four militants, the army said.
An officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters on the record, said the militants were trying to enter the Indian-controlled area.
There was no independent confirmation of the incidents.
The fighting comes amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following a rebel attack last month on an Indian military base in which 19 soldiers were killed along with the four attackers.
India later retaliated, saying its Special Forces conducted a "surgical strike" and destroyed "terrorist launching pads" used by Pakistan-backed militants inside the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir. Islamabad rejected the Indian account, saying it was routine cross-border fire.
Since then, the nuclear-armed rivals have engaged in near-daily firing along their de facto frontier.
Both countries claim the Himalayan region in its entirety. Most people in the Indian-controlled portion favour independence or a merger with Pakistan.
A militant uprising and subsequent Indian crackdown since 1989 have killed more than 68,000 people.
India accuses Pakistan of training rebels and helping them infiltrate into the Indian side. Islamabad denies the charge, saying it gives only political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris.
The escalating tensions in the region come as Kashmir is experiencing its largest protests against Indian rule in recent years, sparked by the killing in July of a popular rebel commander by Indian soldiers.
The protests, and a sweeping military crackdown, have all but paralyzed life in Indian-controlled Kashmir. More than 80 people have been killed and thousands injured in the protests.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016