World Bulletin/News Desk
A major attack in Indian-held Kashmir has killed 13 members of Indian security forces and six fighters on Friday.
The Indian Army said eight soldiers and five policemen have been killed in the gun battle, which began when gunmen charged an Indian army camp in the heavily-fortified Uri area of northern Kashmir. The security forces have begun a search operation.
Several hours later, a gun battle broke out in Srinagar, the state capital where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due next week on a campaign tour for a state election.
The latest attack took place in occupied Kashmir's Uri sector near the militarised border. Kashmiris are voting for a new state assembly in the occupied region, officials said, and the attack came just days before voting in the staggered election is due to be held in that sector.
The fighters cut through a wire fence around the small artillery camp and then fired rocket-propelled grenades at the security force men in their bunkers, an army officer said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationalist party is making its most serious bid yet to win power in the occupied state, banking on votes in the Hindu-majority Jammu and Buddhist Ladakh areas. It is also capitalising on the rise of independents and splits elsewhere in Muslim-majority Kashmir.
Independence movements have called for a boycott of the election.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in IHK have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict so far.