World Bulletin / News Desk
Three members of the Indian security forces and two alleged Pakistan-based fighters have been killed in an overnight gun battle in the Kupwara area of Indian-held Kashmir. The firefight lasted for more than 16 hours and ended on Tuesday afternoon, leaving six Indian personnel wounded.
According to the Indian Army, the gunfight broke out Monday evening when a joint search party of the 19 Maratha Rifles and the Jammu and Kashmir State Police was fired upon by fighters from a house in Chowkibal neighborhood, Kupwara, about 125 km northwest of Srinagar city.
"In the gunfight, we killed two militants belonging to the Pakistan-based militant outfit, Lashkar-e-Toiba. The Indian Army also lost a soldier of officer rank in the gunfight and two policemen also lost their lives," , army spokesperson Lt. Col. N N Joshi told The Anadolu Agency. The wounded police officers and soldiers have been hospitalized, according to the military.
The encounter was a long and costly one for the Indian Armed forces. Two police officers who had gone into the house had gone missing raising suspicions of abduction by the fighters.
"Bodies of both the slain militants and two policemen were recovered from the debris of the house and that ended the gunfight, Joshi said.
Joshi also claimed that one of the fighters was the "divisional commander" of the Kupwara area.
According to the statistics from the Indian government, at least 73 rebels and 82 Indian security force personnel have been killed in different firefights in Jammu and Kashmir in 2013.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in part and claimed by both in full. The two countries have fought three full-fledged wars since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which over Kashmir.
Since 1989, Kashmiri groups in the Indian-held region 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.Last Mod: 09 Nisan 2014, 12:14