Five Indian soldiers killed in suspected rebel attack in Kashmir

Five Indian soldiers killed in suspected rebel attack in Kashmir – Al Jazeera English

Suspected rebels fighting Indian rule in the disputed region ambush a military vehicle in the southern Rajouri sector.

Suspected rebels have killed five soldiers in disputed Indian-administered Kashmir when they opened fire and threw explosives at an army truck, the Indian military said.

The vehicle caught fire “due to the likely use of grenades,” the army said, which were thrown by the unidentified attackers Thursday in the southern Rajouri sector near the highly militarized Line of Control dividing the Himalayan range between India and Pakistan.

“Five personnel from the Rashtriya Rifles Unit deployed in counter-terrorism operations in the area sadly lost their lives in the incident,” the army’s Northern Command said in the statement.

Another soldier was seriously injured and taken to a military hospital for treatment, the statement said.

Videos from the scene showed an army vehicle on fire on a highway in the mountainous region.

Security forces searched the area for the attackers. “Operations are underway to locate the perpetrators,” the army said.

A Defense Ministry source said Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande had briefed Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on the attack.

Kashmir is fully claimed but partially ruled by nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

Since 1989, rebels in the Indian-controlled region have fought some 500,000 Indian soldiers stationed in Indian-administered Kashmir demanding independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Anger at New Delhi’s rule has intensified since 2019, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government overturned partial autonomy for India’s only Muslim-majority region.

In August last year, suspected rebels attacked an Indian army post in Rajouri, killing three soldiers. Two of the attackers also died in the shooting.

New Delhi has long accused Pakistan of fueling rebellion in Indian-administered Kashmir. Islamabad denies the allegation, saying it only offers diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiris seeking self-determination.

Tens of thousands of civilians, soldiers and rebels have been killed in the conflict so far.