Militant attack kills 17 in India army base

Militants have attacked an army base in Indian-administered Kashmir, killing at least 17 soldiers, the army says.

Four of the attackers were killed in the pre-dawn ambush.

The attackers were said to be carrying guns and grenades as they stormed a base in Uri, close to the Line of Control with Pakistan.

It is the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades.

It comes as violent protests against Indian rule in the disputed region continue, with a strict curfew imposed.

More than 80 people, nearly all anti-government protesters, have died in more than two months of violence.

A search is under way for other militants believed to be hiding in the area, according to the army.

“We salute the sacrifice of 17 soldiers who were martyred in the operation,” a statement said.

The militants infiltrated across the Line of Control from Pakistan before attacking the base, west of Srinagar, the army officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Gunfire and explosions were heard for several hours.

Many tents and temporary shelters caught fire during the attack, according to the army’s Northern Command.

Twelve soldiers were killed by fires and the others died in gun battles, the Hindustan Times reports, citing army sources.

Disputed Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan and has been a flashpoint for more than 60 years, causing two wars between the neighbours.

A militant attack on an army camp in Uri in December 2014 saw at least nine members of the security forces killed.

The last attack of this scale on the Indian army was in June 2015 in Manipur, north-east India, when at least 20 soldiers were killed in an attack on a troop convoy.