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The BBC's Jill Mcgivering in Delhi
"The gunfire erupted in the middle of Tuesday afternoon"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 16 January, 2001, 19:37 GMT
Attack on Kashmir airport
Soldiers at Srinagar airport
The army has now secured the airport
Indian security forces have foiled an attempt by militants to storm the airport in Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir.

A heavily-armed suicide squad threw grenades at the main gates of the airport, which is located on the outskirts of Srinagar.

In the gun battle that followed, 11 people were killed, including six militants, three paramilitary soldiers and two civilians.

The latest incident follows an attack on Srinigar's main telephone exchange last week and an earlier unsuccessful attempt to infiltrate the airport.

Security tightened

The militants, who were wearing police uniforms, launched their attack in the afternoon, as they tried to take over the main security post outside the airport.


Six of our men broke the airport security cordon

Lashkar-e-Toyeba spokesman
Eight paramilitary soldiers were injured in the exchange of fire that followed, lasting two-and-a-half hours.

Police sources told the BBC that the army has now taken over the security operations and surrounded the Srinagar airport.

Several passengers who were stranded at the airport during the gun battle have now been allowed to go home.

Airlines have resumed their normal operations.

The Lashkar-e-Toyeba militant group has issued a statement saying it carried out the attack.

"Six of our men broke the airport security cordon," a spokesman for the group told the AFP news agency.

Earlier this month, five militants, dressed in police uniforms, were stopped as they drove up to the airport's main gate.

Since then, security has been stepped up outside the airport and other vital installations.

Ceasefire

India's Home Minister L K Advani described the incident as "serious".

LK Advani
Home Minister Advani says the ceasefire will be reviewed
He said this and other attacks would be taken into account when India reviews the security situation in the state following the ceasefire, which has been in place since the end of November.

The attack also comes ahead of India's Republic Day on 26 January - a period in which militant groups often step up the level of violence.

The government ceasefire raised hopes of possible peace in the troubled region.

But most militant groups have rejected the ceasefire and violent attacks have continued.

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See also:

08 Jan 01 | South Asia
Security stepped up at Kashmir airport
16 Jan 01 | South Asia
Pakistan bullish on Kashmir peace
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