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Death toll in Indian base attack rises to 7 troops, 4 gunmen

“Operation will continue till the whole air base has been cleared of any intruders, any terrorist”, Air Officer Commanding of the Pathankot Air Force Station (AFS), Air Commodore J.S. Dhamoon, told the media.

On Saturday, at least five terrorists assaulted the heavily guarded IAF base Pathankot, located in northwestern state of Punjab, only 25 kilometers from the Indian-Pakistani border.

Last Friday, authorities issued an alert over a possible terrorist attack after finding the body of a man with his throat slit inside a vehicle, Mehrishi said. “They are firing intermittently”, Pathankot police chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh told AFP.

Police said soldiers came under fire as they were clearing explosives from the site.

Two more blasts and gunfire were heard from the base Sunday morning, leading to speculation that another terrorist could still be inside the base, according to the Hindustan Times, a local newspaper.

The attack started before dawn on Saturday, when a group of gunmen – wearing Indian army uniforms – entered the residential quarters on the base.

At least two Indian soldiers were also killed in an attack seen as an attempt to undo recent progress made in the relationship between rivals India and Pakistan.

“Immediately all the safety measures on the base have been enhanced, counter measures have been initiated, coordination was executed with the Indian Army and the NSG, Punjab Police and different intelligence businesses”, he added. Rebels routinely stage attacks in Indian-held Kashmir, where they’ve been fighting since 1989 for an independent Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan.

The violence continued at the Indian Air Force (IAF) base near a frontier town of Pathankot, northern India, on Sunday morning during a security mopping-up operation.

Indian leaders had already praised the armed forces for their heroism in Saturday’s shootout, with Modi saying they did not let the “enemies of humanity” who attacked the base succeed.

On Saturday and Sunday, many Indians reproduced old tweets of Modi in which he questioned the policy of conducting dialogue with Pakistan amid terrorist attacks.

The attack comes days soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unscheduled visit to Pakistan.

“Pakistan would remain committed to partner with India as well as other countries in the region to completely eradicate the menace of terrorism afflicting our region”, Foreign Office said.

Earlier during the day, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar briefed Prime Minister Modi on the latest situation at the Pathankot air base.

The responses to Saturday’s attack from both countries have been muted so far, with neither New Delhi nor Islamabad giving any indication that the planned talks are under any threat.

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