Indian security forces on Monday killed two suspected organizers of a suicide bombing in the disputed region of Kashmir that has fueled tension between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, police said, with four soldiers also killed in the clash, Trend reports referring to Reuters.
The suicide bomb attack on a paramilitary police convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir last Thursday killed at least 40 men, the deadliest single attack on Indian forces in 30 years of insurgency in the Muslim-majority region.
The Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack. India accuses Pakistan for harboring the group. Pakistan denies that.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, facing an election that must be held by May, is under domestic pressure for decisive action against Pakistan.
Modi has promised a strong response and says he has given the military a free hand to tackle cross-border militancy.
The two suspected masterminds of the bomb attack killed in the clash on Monday were both Pakistani nationals and members of JeM, police said in a statement.
“The encounter is still in progress and the security forces are on the job,” police said.
Four Indian soldiers and a civilian were also killed during the fighting, police said, while six were wounded, including several senior officers.
Security force sources told Reuters one of the dead militants had been identified as Abdul Rashid Gazi, who went by the alias Kamran Bhai.
Indian troops had earlier cordoned off Pinglan village in Kashmir’s Pulwama district, where the attack took place on Thursday.
An indefinite curfew has been imposed and police have asked people to stay indoors.
Mohammad Yunis, a journalist in Pulwama, said troops were searching the village and civilians trapped in houses were being evacuated.
On Sunday, police said Indian forces had detained 23 men suspected of links to the militants who carried out the Thursday bombing.