Two soldiers, policeman killed in pre-dawn Kashmir attack

Srinagar, Aug 17 (IANS) Two soldiers and a policeman were killed in a pre-dawn attack on Wednesday when militants ambushed an Indian Army convoy on a highway in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district – the second deadly strike on security forces in three days.

The attack comes amid the deadliest Kashmir unrest in six years that began after the July 8 killing of rebel commander Burhan Wani. The militant’s death has provoked angry protests by Kashmiri youth who hail Wani as their hero.

As the street unrest continues, militant violence has also escalated in the state.

Security officials blamed the unrest on the surge in militant attacks after years of decline.

“Militants have been able to consolidate as security forces remain busy in controlling the unrest,” a top police officer told IANS in Baramulla where the latest attack occurred.

The officer said heavily armed men ambushed an army convoy near Baramulla town around 3. 30 a.m. and killed two soldiers. They struck again and killed one policeman when a police deployment reached there.

Authorities have said some 60 militants have managed to sneak into the valley from Pakistan in the weeks of unrest.

At least four security personnel were injured in the attack, which comes two days after militants killed a paramilitary commandant in Srinagar on Independence Day. Militants also attacked a police station in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district late on Tuesday, injuring five policeman.

The Kashmir Valley has been on the boil for nearly six weeks now. Some 63 civilians have been killed in firing by security forces during clashes with protesters. At least two policemen have also been killed.

Schools, shops, banks and offices have remain closed in much of the valley as police and paramilitary troopers patrol on roads to prevent people from coming out on the streets.

The curfew and separatist-called shut down on Wednesday continued to paralyse normal life for the 40th day in a row.

The curfew and communications blackout have, however, failed to bring calm in the valley. Separatists have called for a march to the UN office in Srinagar and a 72-hour sit-in if security forces stop them.



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