x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Deadly attack in Kashmir ahead of India PM's trip

Militants opened fire on a military convoy in Indian Kashmir on Monday, killing four soldiers and wounding six others on the eve of a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

SRINAGAR, India // Militants opened fire on a military convoy in Indian Kashmir on Monday, killing four soldiers and wounding six others on the eve of a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the army said.

The soldiers were attacked on the outskirts of Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, army spokesman Col Brijesh Pandey told AFP.

"We have received 10 casualties from the attack site at the military hospital, four of them were fatal," he said, adding that one of the six wounded is in a critical condition.

The attack came amid a high state of alert which had been imposed ahead of Mr Singh's arrival today for a two-day visit to the territory, his first since June 2010.

Security officials had earlier said that police and paramilitary forces were being deployed in strength across the region and additional check points had been erected along major highways.

"A high alert is there. We do face a threat from the militants," Abdul Gani Mir, Kashmir's police chief said.

Kashmir, a picturesque Himalayan territory, is divided between India and Pakistan by a UN monitored de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC) but it is claimed in full by both.

More than a dozen armed rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces since 1989 for the region's independence or its merger with Pakistan.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians have died in the fighting but armed violence has been on a steady decline since the early 2000s.

Security concerns were further raised yesterday when armed rebels struck in a busy commercial area in the heart of Srinagar, the region's summer capital, killing two policemen in a shoot-and-run incident.

The three main separatist groups opposed to Indian rule have called for a total shutdown for today to protest the visit of the prime minister.