Nine killed as gunbattle rages in army camp in Indian-administered Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Nine people were killed in a gun battle between Indian soldiers and militants that raged into its second day at an Indian army camp in northern Jammu and Kashmir state, a police official said on Sunday.

Militants stormed the camp early on Saturday and hundreds of police, army and paramilitary soldiers were rushed in to dislodge the fighters, a home ministry official said in the capital, New Delhi.

A senior police officer, who asked not to be identified, said five soldiers and a civilian were killed after militants breached the Sunjuwan army camp in Jammu early on Saturday.

He said three militants had also been killed.

The army camp in the city of Jammu is close to two shopping centres and public schools.

Officials said an unknown number of attackers were cornered inside the residential complex of the camp, where they were locked in a fierce standoff.

The director general of police for Jammu and Kashmir, S P Vaid, said communications intercepts "suggest that the terrorists involved in the attack belong to Jaish-e-Mohammad group", a Pakistan-based separatist militant organisation.

India accuses Pakistan of training and arming militants and helping them infiltrate across the Line of Control that divides the Kashmir region. Pakistan denies the allegations.

The South Asian neighbours have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.

India’s army chief, Bipin Rawat, reached Jammu on Sunday morning to review the operation as the gunfire stretched into its second day.