Top army officer among 11 dead in assault on Indian air force base
Soldiers including a top officer have died of injuries after an attack by suspected militants on an air force base near the Pakistan border
Four more Indian soldiers including a top officer have died of injuries after an attack by suspected militants on an air force base near the Pakistan border, taking the total death toll to 11, officials said Sunday.
Seven soldiers in all including a champion shooter and four attackers were killed at the Pathankot base in the northern state of Punjab, after heavily armed gunmen suspected to be from the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed group infiltrated the key station early Saturday.
The assault - a rare targeting of an Indian military installation outside disputed Kashmir - threatens to undermine improving relations with Pakistan.
It came just a week after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to Pakistan, the first by an Indian premier in 11 years.
The assault - a rare targeting of an Indian military installation outside disputed Kashmir - comes a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to Pakistan, the first by an Indian premier in 11 years.
The U.S. State Department described the assault as “a heinous” terrorist attack and urged the two rivals to work together to hunt down those responsible.
An Indian army official, who declined to be named, told AFP one of the dead was a lieutenant-colonel in the elite commando unit National Security Guard.
The official said the officer and two other soldiers were injured Sunday when a bomb they were trying to defuse exploded during a search of the site.
Air force spokeswoman Rochelle D’Silva said three of 12 soldiers injured in the battle died in hospital on Sunday.
“Nine are being treated in hospital and are stable,” she said.
One of those killed, Subedar Fateh Singh, was a gold medalist at the 1995 Commonwealth Shooting Championships in New Delhi, she said.
Singh was killed at the start of the gunfight, which lasted nearly 14 hours.
The Pathankot air base houses dozens of jet fighters and is important for its strategic location about 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the Pakistan border.
In July three gunmen said to be Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militants killed seven people including four policemen in an attack in the Sikh-majority state of Punjab.
Authorities had put Punjab on high alert Friday after five gunmen in army fatigues hijacked a car driven by a senior police officer. It was later found abandoned on a highway connecting Pathankot to Kashmir.
It was unclear if there was a link to Saturday’s attack.
Pathankot police chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh official said the search would continue until they were satisfied the area was free of militants or munitions.
“We apprehend there might be more bombs at the site. It will take time to clear the area,” Singh told AFP. “We are still on alert.”
Indian Air Force base attacked near Pakistan borderIndian defense ministry sources said four gunmen, believed to be from Pakistan, entered the Pathankot airbase Gulf
Four dead as attackers storm Indian army camp in KashmirThe Indian army killed three suspected rebels and another person was shot dead during a battle at a military camp in Kashmir near the border with Pakistan Gulf
Indian election mania and pounding on Pakistan’s borderLast week, the Indian army suddenly began heavy shelling and firing on Pakistani villages across the line of control (LoC) dividing the disputed state ... World
Indian soldier killed in Kashmir cross border firingIndia accused Pakistan of killing one of its soldiers near the Kashmir cross border Asia
India says soldier killed by Pakistani firing in KashmirAround 1,500 people in Indian border villages were evacuated or fled their homes over the weekend Asia
Pakistan will continue to respond to India border attacksThe two sides regularly fire shells and mortars across the disputed border both in Kashmir and to the south in Punjab, killing civilians Asia
India-Pakistan 50th war anniversary marked with 9 deaths across borderIndia and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence and partition in 1947 Asia
Pakistan accuses India’s forces of killing four near borderA Pakistani army statement says that four were killed and five villagers were wounded in the shelling on Thursday in Kashmir Asia
Treading dangerously on the Pakistan-India borderThe Line of Control [LoC] between Indian and Pakistani-controlled parts of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir became so hot last week that ... World