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Three heavily armed terrorists attacked a police station and an Army camp in the border districts of Kathua and Samba in Jammu and Kashmir Thursday morning, killing ten people, including four policemen and a lieutenant colonel of the Army.
The attack is being seen as a desperate bid to derail the prime ministerial level peace talks between India and Pakistan scheduled on Sunday in New York.
The terrorists, who were dressed in Army fatigues and carrying automatic rifles and grenades, stormed Hiranagar police station around 6.45 am, killing four policemen and two civilians. Within the next hour, they had fought their way into an Army camp 22 km away in adjoining Samba district, where they killed four Army personnel including Lt Col Bikramjeet Singh, second in command of the16 Cavalry unit there.
All three terrorists were killed after a protracted gunbattle at the camp. Sources said that a special Army unit, 9 Para Commandos, was called in for the final battle.
An outfit calling itself the 'Shohada Brigade' claimed responsibility for the attack. But security forces believe the Lashkar-e-Toiba was behind it.
Defence spokesman S N Acharya said the Commanding Officer of the unit, Colonel Avin Uthaiya, took bullets in the chest and stomach, but has undergone surgery and is now stable in hospital.
The policemen killed at Hiranagar have been identified as ASI Rattan Singh and constables Pradeep Singh, Shiv Kumar Sangra and Mukesh Kumar. Policemen Rattan Chand, Gangu Ram and Roshan Lal were injured.
Inspector General of Police, Jammu, Rajesh Kumar, said the terrorists appeared to have entered India only in the past 24 hours. Sources, however, said it was likely that they were in the area for several days, studying their targets.