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Militants kill 20 in Kashmir

Injured victims
Injured victims of the gun and grenade attack are taken to a local hospital  

From Ram Gopal

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- In the deadliest attack in two months, militants entered a neighborhood in Jammu City, Kashmir, and opened fire, killing 20 people and wounding 30, authorities said.

The militants threw two hand grenades before firing automatic weapons, according to Ashok Suri, police chief of India's disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the killings. Indian authorities say they are now bracing for retaliatory attacks.


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The Saturday incident was the latest in a series of attacks spurred by a long-running dispute between nuclear powers India and Pakistan over the flashpoint of Kashmir.

Political tensions in the region peaked last spring when both nations posted more than a million troops along their shared border and the Kashmiri Line of Control, which divides the disputed region between them.

A December raid on India's parliament, and a May attack on an Indian army camp near Jammu stoked the tensions, which were contained after a flurry of diplomatic missions by overseas diplomats.

Escaped to hills

All of the casualties of Saturday's attack were civilian residents of the neighborhood, according to officials.

Soon after the incident, security forces surrounded the neighborhood and searched for the shooters.

The attackers escaped into the hills, where they are now being chased by police and Indian soldiers.

The area is primarily a neighborhood of poor laborers, most of them Hindus. Authorities said they assumed the militants are opposed to Indian rule in Kashmir.

New Delhi accuses Pakistan of providing funding and training to militants it accuses of carrying out a series of attacks against Indian targets, including a daring raid on the Indian parliament.

Pakistan denies the Indian charges saying that it only gives moral support to groups fighting what it calls a "freedom struggle" in the disputed Muslim majority region of Kashmir.




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