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Indian security forces wind up operation after airbase attack

(Xinhua)    10:27, January 03, 2016
Indian security forces wind up operation after airbase attack
Indian security force personnel stand outside an attacked Indian air force base in Pathankot of Indian state of Punjab, Jan. 2, 2016. At least four gunmen and two Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel were killed Saturday in an attack on an air force base in the northern state of Punjab, close to the international border with Pakistan, India's official broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) said. (Xinhua/Stringer)

NEW DELHI, Jan. 2 -- Indian security forces Saturday afternoon wound up their combing operation against militants who attacked an airbase in the northern state of Punjab near the Pakistan border, killing another gunman.

This brought the number of the militants killed to five while two Indian air force personnel and two security force men were also killed in the 14-hour gunfight, said government officials.

Gunfight broke out at around 03:30 a.m. local time inside the Pathankot air force base, about 30 km from the Pakistan border.

Five other security men are also wounded in the fight, which saw the mobilization of hundreds of soldiers and at least one attack helicopter by the Indian authorities.

Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar and chiefs of some senior security agencies held a high level meeting after the attack took place, but they did not issue any statement after the meeting ended.

Indian officials and media blame Pakistan-based militants for the attack. Reports said Jaish-e-Mohammed, a militant group based in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, could be the perpetrator of the attack.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh told media their security agencies were giving befitting reply to the attackers.

"Pakistan is our neighbor and we want peace, but any terrorist attack on India will get a befitting response," Singh said. "I am happy that our forces gave a befitting response in Punjab, I am proud of them."

The attack comes just over one week after the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited and Lahore to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to give boost to the renewed peace initiative between two countries.

While the attack has raised speculations over the continuation of thaw in India-Pakistan relations, Pakistan has condemned the attack and vowed to eradicate all terrorism.

The attack also was reminiscent of another militant attack in the same border area of Punjab half a year ago.

Last year in July, at least 10 people including four policemen and three civilians were killed in an attack on a police station in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

In both times, the attackers were wearing military fatigues and using civilian cars they kidnapped after crossing into India from Pakistan.

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(Editor:Wu Chengliang,Bianji)

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