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India: 11 killed in ongoing fighting in Punjab state

4th Jan 2016
India: 11 killed in ongoing fighting in Punjab state

By Ahmad Adil

 

CHANDIGARH, (AA): At least 11 people have been killed in ongoing gun battles between Indian security forces and suspected Pakistani militants following an attack on an Indian Air Force base in the Pathankot area of India’s northern Punjab state.

The gunfight, in which at least four suspected militants were killed on Saturday, is reportedly still underway, Indian officials said Sunday evening.

At a press conference in New Delhi, Indian Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said security forces were still combing the area in search of additional “terrorists”.

He added that six Indian Air Force personnel had been killed — and another eight injured — since the initial attack on the base on Saturday.

A senior Indian army officer, identified as Lieut.-Col. Niranjan Kumar, was also killed Sunday morning while security forces were searching the area.

Early Saturday morning, armed men wearing army fatigues attacked the airbase, killing a number of Indian security personnel.

Since then, attempts by Indian security forces to flush the militants out of the area have remained ongoing.

“The operation will continue until the airbase is cleared of intruders,” Air Officer Commander told reporters in Pathankot, confirming that seven security personnel had been killed in the initial attack.

A security official in Punjab, which shares a border with Pakistan, told Anadolu Agency that India’s Border Security Forces were conducting searches along the frontier to determine whether “the militants crossed the international border”.

Following the initial attack, a general terror warning was issued across the country, while airports and railway stations nationwide were put on high alert.

Neeraj Sharma, a spokesman for India’s railway authority, told Anadolu Agency that security had been stepped up at all the country’s railway stations.

“We have issued an alert and are taking precautionary measures,” he said. “There is no need to panic.”

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, for his part, said he had directed the railway police to remain vigilant.

In New Delhi, meanwhile, police have urged citizens to show caution and report “any suspicious persons, objects or activities”.

 

 

[Photo: Indian Special Forces. Photographer: Panky Sharma/Creative Commons]

 

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