'Slain Kashmir Rebels On Suicide Mission'

'Slain Kashmir Rebels On Suicide Mission'

22 October 2010
AFP


Srinagar: Three militants killed in a gunbattle in Indian Kashmir were on a suicide mission to attack Indian military bases, a rebel group said Friday, adding that three other guerrillas escaped. Two of the militants from the hardline Pakistan-based rebel group Jaish-e-Mohammed were killed during a fierce gunbattle on the outskirts of Indian Kashmir summer capital Srinagar on Thursday. The body of a third militant was pulled from the rubble of two houses destroyed during fighting on Friday, a police officer said. 'The three militants were among six fedayeen (militants on suicide mission) assigned to carry out attacks on the Badami Bagh cantonment and Haft Chinar army camp in Srinagar,' Jaish's operational chief Sajjad Afghani said. Badami Bagh cantonment is the major base of the Indian army in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. Jaish said in a statement the trio were part of a six-member group told to stage the suicide attacks but they were intercepted by troops before they could reach their targets. The group said the three other rebels were safe. The Jaish claim came as Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said his administration would review security arrangements ahead of the November visit of US President Barack Obama to India. 'Whatever adequate (security) arrangements are to be made will be made for this high-level visit,' Abdullah said. Obama is not visiting Kashmir but security officials believe rebels might step up their attacks before or during Obama's India visit. In March 2000, 36 Sikhs were massacred by unidentified gunmen just before a visit to India by then US president Bill Clinton. Security forces and militants blamed each other for the massacre. Abdullah said security for the Obama visit would be reviewed during a high-level meeting in Kashmir within few days. Kashmir has been in the grip of a two-decade insurgency against Indian rule that has left more than 47,000 people dead. Indian Kashmir has been under rolling curfews and hit by anti-India strikes since early June, when a 17-year-old student was killed by a police tear gas shell. Since then, more than 100 protesters and bystanders have died in the region.


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