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The BBC's Altaf Hussein in Srinagar
"The militants were killed by commandos of the Indian army"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 28 December, 1999, 17:06 GMT
India ends Kashmir siege

Police taken an injured colleague to hospital Police take an injured colleague to hospital

Indian commandos have stormed the headquarters of their Special Operations Group in Indian administered Kashmir, ending a 24-hour siege by separatist militants.

Indian authorities say the commandos killed three militants who had been holding out there since Monday and rescued more than 100 police who had been held hostage.

Ten police died in the attack, including the acting head of the Special Operations Group, Superintendent Gan Shyam, and several others were injured.

But a spokesman of the militant group said only two militants had stormed the complex. One of them was Kashmiri and the other a Pakistani national, he said.

Soon after Monday's attack, Indian security forces cordoned off the largely residential area and took up positions on balconies and roof-tops.

The BBC's Altaf Hussein said residents spent a sleepless night as the forces kept up a steady exchange of fire with the militants.

Indian paramilitary reinforcements Indian paramilitary reinforcements arrive in Srinigar
During the night, Indian troops had fired rockets and mortar shells at the building in an attempt to dislodge the militants.

A spokesman claiming to represent the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen group claimed responsibility for the attack in a telephone call to Srinagar news organisations.

The group is also blamed by Indian authorities for the hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft on Friday.

Earlier on Monday, one policeman was killed and two were wounded when separatists fired on a police patrol, also in Srinagar, police said.

Attackers disguised

In the past few weeks, separatists have stepped up their attack in Indian-administered Kashmir, targeting army bases.

Monday's attack was one of the boldest so far. One report said gunmen dressed in police uniforms broke into the building. At least seven policemen came out of the building covered in blood, the report said.

The area was immediately sealed off by police and security forces.

An army base is located next to the Special Task Force headquarters.

In a similar raid on the headquarters of the Indian army in Kashmir last month, six soldiers were killed.

Earlier this year, Indian troops fought a 10-week battle with Pakistan-backed forces in Kargil, in northern Kashmir.

Soon after the withdrawal of the forces, senior Indian administrators warned attacks on military installations in the troubled province were likely.

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See also:
22 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Ten killed in Kashmir violence
15 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Kashmir army camp attacked
17 Nov 99 |  South Asia
Kashmir 'war still on'
13 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Probe into Kashmir police deaths
07 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Kashmir separatist group wants talks

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