Militants attack police, bus in north India, engage in gunfight with Indian forces; 10 dead



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NEW DELHI — Indian forces fought an extended gunbattle Monday with militants who attacked a moving bus and stormed into a police station in a northern town bordering Pakistan, with 10 people killed in the violence, officials said.

The attackers killed four policemen and three civilians in the pre-dawn attack in Punjab state, said Harcharan Singh Bains, a state government spokesman.

All three of the attackers died in fighting with Indian police officers backed by army personnel that lasted about 12 hours, said the state's director-general of police, Sumedh Singh Saini.

The militants hijacked a car and then fired at the bus and a roadside eatery before attacking a police station near Gurdaspur, a border town in Punjab, police said.

Eight injured people were hospitalized, seven of them in serious condition, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Police are investigating whether the militants came from the Indian portion of Kashmir — which borders Punjab — or from Pakistan. Rebels routinely stage attacks in Indian-held Kashmir, where they've been fighting since 1989 for an independent Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan.

Monday's attack took place in neighboring Punjab state, which witnessed militancy by Sikhs in the 1980s. The revolt was put down with massive police force, arbitrary arrests and long-term incarceration of insurgent leaders.

Saini said it was difficult to say where the attackers came from or whether militancy was returning to Punjab. "They carried firearms and grenades. They came well equipped and carried two GPS systems," he told reporters.

Pakistan's foreign ministry condemned the attack. "Pakistan reiterates its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," it said in a statement.

State-run All India Radio said that police had discovered five bombs on a railway track in the area, causing train service to be suspended, though it was unclear whether it was related to the attack.


Associated Press writer Asif Shahzad in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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