Indian forces search air force base

2016-01-05 13:29
Indian policemen patrol a residential area near the Indian air force base in Pathankot. (Channi Anand, AP)

Indian policemen patrol a residential area near the Indian air force base in Pathankot. (Channi Anand, AP)

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Pathankot - Indian forces on Tuesday searched for the last of six suspected gunmen who attacked an air force base near the Pakistan border and killed seven government troops in the nearly four-day siege.

Air force spokesperson Rochelle D'Silva said: "There's been no firing since Monday night at the base."

Indian security forces say they have killed five attackers, the fifth on Monday and believe one remains on Pathankot air force base's sprawling premises.

In the first apparent claim of responsibility, the United Jehad Council, an alliance of 13 Kashmir-based rebel groups, claimed its "highway squad" stormed the base.

Alliance spokesperson Syed Sadaqat Hussain issued a statement to Current News Service, based in the Indian portion of Kashmir, saying the attack carried a message for India that no security establishment was out of the militants' reach.

The council is based in Pakistan's portion of Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between the countries and claimed in its entirety by both.

Training insurgents

Sharad Kumar, chief of India's National Investigation Agency, said telephone intercepts suggested the attackers were from Pakistan. He did not give details.

The Pakistan Foreign Ministry said the government was in touch with the Indian government and "is working on the leads provided by it.

"The challenge of terrorism calls for strengthening our resolve to a co-operative approach," the statement said.

The attack precedes a meeting between top foreign ministry bureaucrats of the two countries in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, on January 15 to discuss steps to settle outstanding issues, including Kashmir.

The United Jehad Council said that by accusing Pakistan of every attack, India neither succeeded in maligning the Kashmir freedom struggle nor would it gain anything in the future. India without delay "should provide an opportunity to the people of Kashmir to decide their future," Hussain said.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents in its portion of Kashmir. Pakistan denies that and says it only provides moral and diplomatic support.

Read more on:    india  |  pakistan

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