Militants disguised as cricketers killed five paramilitary police in an ambush in the main city of Indian Kashmir yesterday, officials said, in the deadliest attack for nearly five years.
Two gunmen from the local pro-Pakistan group Hizbul Mujahideen, which claimed the attack, were shot dead after the assault on a playing field in the Bemina district of Srinagar that is home to a police school and barracks.
A senior police officer, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said the extremists pretended to be joining children for a game of cricket before taking out automatic weapons from a bag and throwing a grenade.
Four civilians were also injured, said a police statement.
Indian Home Secretary RK Singh told reporters that up to four men might have been involved and the dead gunmen appeared “not local but from across the border” in Pakistan.
Wednesday’s deaths marked the deadliest single day for Indian security forces since July 2008 when a landmine killed nine soldiers on a bus on the outskirts of Srinagar.
The Himalayan region, where a 20-year anti-India insurgency has waned in recent years, has been tense since the execution of a local separatist, Afzal Guru, in February over a deadly 2001 attack on the national parliament in Delhi.
Much of Kashmir has since been put under curfew repeatedly while protests and strikes have disrupted daily life.