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India: Four Indian soldiers killed in Jammu & Kashmir February 18 /update 2

Gunfight leaves four Indian soldiers dead, two other people wounded, in Pulwama district (Jammu & Kashmir) on February 18; further violence and heightened political tensions expected in coming weeks

18 Feb 05:38 AM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 2/18/2019, 12:00 AM until 2/24/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Kolkata). COUNTRY/REGION India
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Event

A gunfight erupted in Jammu & Kashmir on Monday, February 18, that claimed the lives of four Indian soldiers and left one soldier and one civilian critically wounded. The incident occurred during a security operation in the Pinglena area of Pulwama district following the February 14 suicide bombing that killed at least 40 paramilitary officers. India media reports blamed the attack on Jaish-e-Mohammad, the group that claimed responsibility for the earlier suicide bombing. Further security operations and violence is expected in Jammu & Kashmir in the coming weeks as political tensions between India, Kashmiri separatists, and Pakistan remain high. Public demonstrations are possible in Kashmir and other cities in India along with associated transportation disruptions; violence and looting cannot be ruled out.

Context

Suicide bombers detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in Pulwama district (Jammu & Kashmir) on February 14, killing at least 40 Indian paramilitary officers. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack and India has accused Pakistan of supporting the attackers. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in India since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Separatists have been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir since 1989. Some 70,000 people have died and many more have been injured in related violence, uprisings, and military crackdowns. Recently, the Indian government has conducted several security operations in the region amid rising tensions and sporadic violence.

Advice

Individuals in Jammu & Kashmir are advised to remain vigilant for militant activity and government security operations, refrain from discussing sensitive political topics in public or on social media, avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence or arrest, and adhere to all instructions (e.g. curfews, road blocks, checkpoints, etc.) issued by local authorities and their home governments.

As a reminder, some Western governments advise their citizens against travel to parts of Kashmir, notably including areas along the Line of Control (LoC), due to the significant risk of violence.

 

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