17 Indian soldiers killed in attack on Kashmir base

SEVENTEEN Indian soldiers and four suspected rebel fighters have been killed in an attack on an army headquarters in Indian-administered Kashmir, according to a statement by the army’s northern command.
“Four terrorists killed in counterterrorist operation at Uri. 17 soldiers make the supreme sacrifice,” the command said on Twitter on Sunday, referring to the Uri area, about 100km west of the troubled northern region’s main city of Srinagar.
According to Al Jazeera, the fighters first attacked a frontline base close to the border known as the Line of Control before moving on to the headquarters, army spokesman Colonel SD Goswami said.
Most of the fatalities happened in a tent that caught fire, Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh, the Indian army’s director general of military operations, told the briefing in New Delhi.
Reuters’ television footage showed helicopters flying in to evacuate the injured as an operation continued to secure the area. Smoke rose from the compound, set in mountainous terrain. The Defence Ministry earlier put the number of wounded at 35.
India has accused Pakistan of being behind one of the most deadly attacks in Kashmir in a quarter-century-old armed rebellion.
Lieutenant General Singh said that Sunday’s attack bore the hallmarks of Pakistan-based armed group Jaish-e-Mohammed. Evidence gathered at the scene indicated the attackers were foreign and their equipment bore Pakistani markings, he told Reuters news agency.
“Our men are ready to give a befitting response,” Singh said in response to a reporter’s question. He did not elaborate.
Earlier, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemned what he called the “cowardly terror attack”.
“I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished,” Modi said in a series of Twitter posts.