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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 20:45 GMT 21:45 UK
Pakistan condemns Kashmir deaths
The shattered remains of the bus used in the attack
The militants are said to have fired indiscriminately
Pakistan has condemned the killing of civilians in an attack by militants in Indian-administered Kashmir which left at least 30 people dead, including women and children and the three attackers themselves.

A government statement did not condemn the actual attack on the army camp at Kaluchak, about 10 kilometres (six miles) south of the winter capital Jammu, but called for an impartial investigation.


They had AK 47s, they were firing all around, they had hand grenades, they had explosives.

Major General Mohan Pandey

The attack is the bloodiest since nearly 40 people died in a raid on the state assembly in the summer capital Srinagar last October.

The Indian Government has suggested it was timed to coincide with the arrival of a US peace envoy in Delhi and a police official said he believed the militants were Pakistanis.

"This is not a coincidence that the incident has occurred at a time when a senior US State Department official is visiting our country," the minister told parliament.

Women grieves over the killings at the camp
There were children among the dead
US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca, whose visit is aimed at cooling tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, condemned the violence as "barbaric terrorism".

Ms Rocca, who intends travelling on to Pakistan, added that the US-led international war on terrorism aimed to stop such attacks.

Indian officials said she would be shown evidence that Pakistan is backing militant activity.

The Pakistani Government issued a statement to "strongly condemn the death of a number of civilians in an armed attack near Jammu".

It also pointed to the visit by Ms Rocca, saying that attacks in Kashmir tended to "coincide with high-level visits to the region".

Gun battle

The three attackers, who were wearing army uniforms, arrived by bus at the Kaluchak camp early on Tuesday morning.

Officials said they opened fire indiscriminately with assault rifles and threw grenades, killing seven other bus passengers before storming the camp gate and attacking an area of the camp housing family quarters, workshops and canteens.

The attackers were eventually cornered and killed during a gun battle with soldiers and police that lasted more than two hours.

The BBC's Binoo Joshi, reporting from Jammu, says it is the first time that an army camp so close to Jammu has been targeted in such a fashion, although there have been a series of similar attacks on camps in other districts.

No organisation has admitted carrying out the attack, but Indian officials suspect Pakistan-based groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

A police spokesman, Subash Raina, told Reuters news agency that all three attackers were believed to be Pakistanis.

Tensions

A senior US defence department official in Washington told reporters on Monday there was a "large risk" of war.

"The governments of India and Pakistan have an enormous interest in bringing tensions down and the risks of war down", said Defence Undersecretary Douglas Feith.

US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca
Rocca is to press US concerns about Kashmir tensions
Both countries still have huge numbers of troops massed along their common border.

They have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since independence from Britain in 1947.

There are reports, denied by Indian authorities, that India has put its troops on a heightened state of alert along the disputed line of control in Kashmir and along the border between India and Pakistan.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Adam Mynott
"There was a gun battle that lasted two hours"
See also:

14 May 02 | South Asia
US urges calm over Kashmir attack
06 Apr 02 | South Asia
Indian police warn of Kashmir 'plot'
14 May 02 | South Asia
US balancing act over Kashmir
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