Jammu, Nov 27 (IANS): A fierce gun battle between the security forces and militants near the international border in Jammu and Kashmir ended Thursday afternoon, killing eight people, including three civilians and an army soldier, police said here.
Four guerrillas were also killed in the gunfight in Jammu district's Arnia area, police said. The exchange of fire ended around 3 p.m.
Three civilians were killed by guerrillas after they infiltrated into the Indian side of the international border Thursday morning, a police officer said.
"The group of militants comprising seven to eight fired at a civilian vehicle after they infiltrated into the Indian side in Arnia area of Jammu district. The driver and two occupants of the vehicle were killed in this incident after which the militants entered an abandoned army bunker in Pind Khote village," he said.
"Army and the BSF engaged the militants in a sustained gunfight in which three militants have been killed so far. One junior commissioned officer of the army was also killed and four other soldiers were injured," the officer said.
"The infiltration attempt was supported by Pakistan Rangers, who fired mortar shells at BSF (Border Security Force) positions in Arnia Thursday morning so that the militants could sneak in," the officer said.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Thursday said the attack "can't be a coincidence" and that he condoled the death of the soldier.
"The timing of the attack in Arnia can't be a coincidence. My condolences to the family of the army officer killed in Arnia," Abdullah wrote on his Twitter handle.
Abdullah said all check posts along the national highway in Jammu and other sensitive locations have been placed on high alert.