SRINAGAR, INDIA (AFP) - Suspected rebels stormed a paramilitary camp in Indian Kashmir early Sunday (Dec 31) leaving seven including three attackers dead, a security forces spokesman said, capping off the deadliest years in a decade for the disputed territory.
Armed militants lobbed grenades and fired automatic rifles to enter the camp of India's Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) outside the main city of Srinagar, triggering a fierce exchange of fire as hundreds of soldiers and special counterinsurgency police surrounded the area.
"Three soldiers died in combat and another died of cardiac arrest during the ongoing operation. Three terrorists were also killed," CRPF spokesman, Rajesh Yadav told AFP.
Three paramilitary troopers were wounded, Yadav said.
It is unclear how many personnel were inside the camp during the attack, which comes just days after Indian forces killed a top leader of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in a shootout nearby.
Kashmir was divided between rivals India and Pakistan at the end of British colonial rule over the subcontinent in 1947. Both claim the disputed territory in full and have fought two of their three wars over its control.
Rebel groups including JeM have since 1989 been fighting roughly half a million Indian soldiers deployed in the restive territory, seeking independence for the former Himalayan kingdom or its merger with neighbouring Pakistan.
The fighting has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead.
Officials said Sunday that at least 206 suspected militants, 57 civilians and 78 Indian security forces personnel had been killed during the year, making it the deadliest in a decade.
New Delhi blames Pakistan for sending militants from across their disputed border in Kashmir to launch attacks on Indian forces.
Islamabad denies the allegations, saying it ony provides moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri struggle for right to self-determination.