March 21, 2015 / 8:04 AM / 3 years ago

Gun battle as militants attack India's Kashmir army camp

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Two militants opened fire at an army camp in Indian Kashmir on Saturday but were killed in a gun battle, an army official said, with the second attack against security forces in two days piling pressure on the federal government after it swore to end the violence.

Saturday’s attack happened on the Pathankote-Jammu National Highway, around 20 km (12 miles) from the police station in Kathua district where six people, including two militants, were killed in a militant attack on Friday.

Kathua district is about 15 km from the border with Pakistan, which India has long blamed for pushing militants into its part of the disputed region.

“The identity of the terrorists is being ascertained. It is not clear yet whether they infiltrated recently or had infiltrated earlier. We have recovered arms and ammunition from them,” Brigadier R. S. Rana of the Indian Army said.

The two militants were killed after a gun battle that lasted for hours on Saturday. “We went slowly to prevent any casualties,” Rana told Reuters.

“We cannot rule out terrorists’ presence, that’s why we are still sanitizing the area.”

Security agencies believe that the two militants belonged to the same group that carried out the attack on Friday.

The national highway has been closed and state school examinations in the district have been called off.

The previous big attack in Kashmir was in December, when militants struck at an army camp in Uri, also near the border with Pakistan but further up the Kashmir valley.

“If (this) is indeed a terrorist strike, it marks a sharp departure from past attacks. Two attacks in two days in (the) same area of Jam (is) very unusual,” Former Jam and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdul said in a Twitter post.

Pakistan denies allegations that it supports the militants and instead calls for talks to resolve the dispute at the heart of six decades of hostility with India.

Writing by Malini Menon; Editing by Paul Tait and Clelia Oziel

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