URI (J&K), Sept 18 - In the worst attack on the Army in many years, heavily armed militants suspected to be from Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed tanzeem (JeM) stormed an army base in Uri in Kashmir killing 17 jawans early today.
Located barely a few kilometres from the Line of Control (LoC) and some 70 km from Srinagar, the Army base was subjected to the brazen attack by four terrorists at around 5:30 am, causing heavy casualties in the Dogra Regiment which lost 17 of its men. Twenty more Army personnel were injured, some critically, and were airlifted to the Army base hospital in Srinagar.
After the three-hour gunbattle, four terrorists were killed and combing operation by the Army was on to ensure there were no other militants. Most of the Army casualties resulted from the fire in tents in which jawans were sleeping.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh pointed a finger directly at Pakistan, saying it is a �terrorist state� and should be isolated. The Home Minister also called an emergency meeting in Delhi.
The Home Minister postponed his scheduled visit to Russia and the United States in the wake of the terror attack. Singh also spoke to the Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on the situation arising out of the terror strike in Uri.
�I have given instructions to Home Secretary (Rajiv Mehrishi) and other officers in the Home Ministry to closely monitor the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,� he said.
Soon after the news of the attack broke, Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag rushed to Uri followed soon by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who cut short his Goa visit. Parrikar was briefed at Army�s headquarters in Srinagar.
Leaders across the political spectrum, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi condemned the attack. President Pranab Mukherjee said India will not be cowed down by such attacks and that it will thwart the evil designs of terrorists and their backers.
The attack at the administrative base of the 10 Dogra, which top Army officials described as a �serious setback�, was launched at 5:30 am and ended at 8:30 am with the killing of four terrorists and martyrdom of 17 soldiers.
Explosions and gunfire erupted as the militants attacked the camp, which is located barely few metres away from the Army�s Brigade Headquarters in Uri town. The jawans of the Dogra Regiment were sleeping in a tent that caught fire due to the explosion. The fire also engulfed the nearby barracks, official sources said. � PTI