PAMPORE , India, Oct. 13 (UPI) — The Indian Army said two armed militants who entered an empty, seven-floor government building and staged a three-day standoff have been killed in Kashmir.
The incident occurred Wednesday near the town of Pampore in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state. On Monday, the militants entered the building and fought back with automatic weapons and grenades against Indian security forces who fired weaponry including rocket launchers, flame throwers and grenades.
“It was a huge building and we didn’t want any collateral damage … Two people were eliminated and two weapons were recovered,” the Indian Army’s Maj. Gen. Ashok Narula said, The Indian Express reports.
Narula said the militants could be from the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Islamist group, which mainly operates in Pakistan. He called the operation to clear the government building from the militant threat a “tedious process.”
“We have taken our time, this is one building and it has got a ground floor, six other floors and one attic. It has 60 rooms and 60 bathrooms also, that is the reason it took time to clear each and every room,” Narula said.
In February, nine people were killed in the same compound by militants after a gun battle. In late September, India and Pakistan engaged in a diplomatic row after India’s military said carried out “surgical strikes” in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir against alleged “terrorists” who were planning attacks on Indian territory.
After India’s announcement of the “surgical strikes,” Pakistan said no such strikes took place — calling India’s announcement a “fabrication” and saying only “unprovoked” small-arms fire occurred along the border in which two Pakistani soldiers were killed and nine injured.
India and Pakistan both contest the Kashmir Valley, which has led to two wars over control of the territory since its independence from Britain in 1947.