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Militants attack Kashmir police camp, kill five

At least five Indian personnel were killed in an ambush by militants who were shot dead in Srinagar on Tuesday.

Kashmir attack 03 13 2013Enlarge
Soldiers take positions outside a school after an attack against Indian paramilitary personnel in Srinagar on March 13, 2013. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI, India — Gunman disguised as cricketers ambushed a Kashmir paramilitary camp on Tuesday, killing at least five personnel and wounding five more, Reuters reports.

On the Indian side of the disputed Kashmir region, the men threw grenades and fired on the camp with weapons they had concealed in a cricket kit.

"They threw a grenade at the security forces, killing five of them. They also opened fire," a senior police official told the BBC.

Local media reports the Hizbul Mujahideen, a large militant group, had claimed responsibility for the attack that also injured three civilians.

“It was a guerilla attack and Hizb militants will carry on such attacks in future also," a Hizbul spokesman said.

GlobalPost Senior Correspondent in New Delhi, Jason Overdorf, said the attack was the most deadly to hit Srinagar since July 2008, when a landmine killed nine soldiers on a bus passing through the outskirts of the city.

"The killings threaten to undo years of government public relations work," Overdorf said. "Over the past three years, Manmohan Singh's United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has used Kashmir's declining casualty rate and the public's new enthusiasm for elections to suggest that the separatist movement is dead or dying. And the state of Jammu & Kashmir itself, which includes the disputed portion administered by India, has welcomed a bumper crop of tourists from other parts of the country thanks to a new reputation for relative safety."

But that could all be coming to an end, Overdorf added.

"The militant Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for Wednesday's strike — which did not hesitate to use children as human shields or sully India's only unifying religion, the sport of cricket. And the group warned to expect more 'guerilla attacks' in the days to come."

Some reports claim there were only two assailants and that they were both shot dead in the fight, according to the BBC.

"A division of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was deployed at a camp here and children were playing cricket in the field when two militants fired grenades and attacked our division," Inspector General of Police Abdul Gani Mir, told Reuters TV.

However, The New York Times reports four men attacked the camp, and that police are still searching for two assailants.

The fighting occurred near Srinagar, a city that has been under curfew to prevent violent protests, following the death of a 24-year-old in a police shooting incident last week, according to the Times of India.

Last month, India hanged a Kashmiri man, Muhammad Afzal, aka Afzal Guru, in Srinagar for his part in a 2001 attack on country's parliament, according to Al Jazeera. Some people in Kashmir think Afzal was framed, according to The Times

Both Pakistan and India claim the Kashmir Valley as their own, and both have fought wars against each other over the region. 

IBN reports:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/130313/militants-attack-kashmir-police-camp-kill-five