In the biggest attack on security forces in Jammu and Kashmir since 2002, the Army's Uri brigade was attacked on Sunday morning, leaving 17 soldiers dead and over two dozen injured. The attack was carried out by at least four heavily armed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, who are believed to have crossed over from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir under the cover of darkness.
DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said: “ All the four killed were foreign terrorists and had carried with them items which had Pakistani markings. Initial reports indicate that the slain terrorists belong to Jaish-e-Mohammed tanzeem.“
He added that since “the terrorists had some items with Pakistani markings, I have spoken to Pakistan DGMO and conveyed our serious concern on the same“.He said that the terrorists had fired incendiary ammunition along with automatic fire of small arms that led to Army tents and temporary shelters catching fire.
“There have been a total of 17 Army fatal casualties. Of these, 13-14 casualties have been due to these tentsshelters having caught fire,“ he said.
Given the gravity of the situation, home minister Rajnath Singh cancelled an overseas tour, while defence minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh rushed to Kashmir.
Sources said the attackers struck the rear of the Uri brigade that had administrative sections. The majority of casualties were to the Dogra Regiment, which was also struck with a massive attack in June 2015 in Chandel, Manipur. The Bihar Regiment also suffered casualties. Officials said most of the soldiers who died were killed in the first round of the attack.
The scale of the attack despite specific intelligence alerts on the scaling up of operations by militants earned some criticism.