Four Indian soldiers and two militants have been killed in clashes in disputed Kashmir as security personnel hunt for members of an insurgent group that killed at least 40 paramilitaries last week.
Police said they were fired on by militants as they searched a village in Kashmir’s southern Pulwama district, close to where a car laden with explosives rammed a paramilitary convoy on Thursday.
“As the searches were going on, terrorists from inside the target house fired indiscriminately on the search party,” police said. “In the initial burst of fire, four army jawans and one civilian sustained critical gun shot injuries.”
Two militants were also killed in the 12-hour gunfight that followed. Police were still searching the village on Monday afternoon.
Police said the identities and affiliations of the dead militants were still being ascertained, but Indian media have claimed they belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed, the Islamist group involved in Thursday’s attack and may have had direct involvement.
Jaish-e-Mohammed is based in Pakistan, and India has announced several reprisals against its neighbour and promised to avenge the bombing, the deadliest in the history of Kashmir’s 30-year insurgency.
Five more soldiers have died since Thursday’s attack, including in an improvised explosive device blast on Saturday near the ceasefire line between Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. Both countries claim the region in full but rule separate sections divided by a heavily militarised border.