SRINAGAR, India (AP) — A car bombing targeted an armored vehicle belonging to the Indian army in disputed Kashmir late Monday, wounding at least six soldiers and two civilians, officials said. Separately, an army officer and a suspected rebel were killed in a gunbattle.
The Indian army said the attack was a “failed attempt” to target an army patrol in the southern Pulwama area. “The damage was minimized due to the alertness of the patrol party,” said Col. Rajesh Kalia, an army spokesman.
None of the rebel groups fighting against Indian rule since 1989 immediately claimed responsibility.
The injured were hospitalized. Officials did not describe the seriousness of their injuries.
The attack comes days after Pakistan reportedly shared information with India and the United States about a possible militant attack in the Pulwama area. According to the Indian Express newspaper on Sunday, the intelligence shared by Pakistan was about “a possible attack by militants using an improvised explosive device mounted on a vehicle.”
In February, a Kashmiri militant targeted a paramilitary convoy with a car bomb and killed 40 Indian soldiers. The deadliest suicide car bombing in the region’s history against Indian soldiers brought India and Pakistan close to a war.
Also Monday, police said an army officer and a suspected militant were killed and two soldiers wounded in a daylong gunfight in the southern Anantnag area.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, a divided Himalayan territory claimed by both India and Pakistan.
Most Kashmiris support the rebels’ demand that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country, while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.
About 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian crackdown.
Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.