• Thursday, July 18, 2024

INDIA

Militant attack in Kashmir claims lives of five Indian soldiers

The attack was the latest in an uptick of attacks in the region.

Soldiers stand next to a vehicle after an attack by suspected militants on an Indian Army convoy in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir, July 9, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer

By: Pramod Thomas

TROOPS in India-administered Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday (9) hunted for gunmen who ambushed an army convoy a day earlier, with the defence minister raising the toll of soldiers killed to five.

Rajnath Singh said he was “deeply anguished” over the “loss of five of our brave Indian Army soldiers”, who were attacked on Monday (8) afternoon in the disputed territory.

“Counter-terrorist operations are underway,” Singh added in a statement on social media platform X, condemning the “dastardly terror attack”.

Monday’s incident was the latest in an uptick of attacks in the region.

On Sunday (7), two soldiers and six suspected militants were killed in two separate gun battles in villages in the Kulgam district, police said.

India and Pakistan both claim Muslim-majority Kashmir in full and have fought three wars for control of the Himalayan region. They both claim the Himalayan region of Kashmir but rule it in part, with India’s territory comprising the Hindu-dominated Jammu region and the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley.

Rebel groups have waged an insurgency since 1989, demanding independence for the territory or its merger with Pakistan.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of civilians, soldiers and rebels.

In June, nine Indian Hindu pilgrims were killed and dozens wounded when a gunman opened fire on a bus carrying them from a shrine in the southern Reasi area.

It was one of the deadliest attacks in years and the first on Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir since 2017, when gunmen killed seven people in another ambush on a bus.

The fight against militancy in the region is in its decisive phase, Indian home minister Amit Shah told a security review meeting last month.

(Agencies)

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