Militants warn of attacks in Kashmir
A hardline Pakistan-based Islamist militant group warned yesterday of fresh attacks against Indian troops, as the army said a "large number" of guerrillas were poised to infiltrate Kashmir.
Eight soldiers and 17 rebels died in protracted gun battles that started Saturday in Kashmir's Kupwara district, close to the Line of Control (LOC) that divides the Indian and Pakistani-zones of the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) said its members were involved in the clashes, some of the fiercest in recent years.
"The gun battles should serve as a message to India that the struggle for Kashmir's freedom is on with full vigour," Lashkar spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi said.
He was speaking by telephone to AFP in Srinagar, in Indian-administered Kashmir, from an undisclosed location.
Ghaznavi said Lashkar militants initiated the gunfight by ambushing an army column in the forest area. He said the fighting left 25 Indian soldiers and 10 Lashkar militants dead.