24-05-2022 08:06 AM Jerusalem Timing

Top Army Officer among 11 Dead in Assault on Indian Air Force Base

Top Army Officer among 11 Dead in Assault on Indian Air Force Base

Four more Indian soldiers including a top officer have died of injuries after an attack by suspected gunmen on an air force base near the Pakistan border, taking the total death toll to 11.

India, Pakistan mapFour more Indian soldiers including a top officer have died of injuries after an attack by suspected gunmen on an air force base near the Pakistan border, taking the total death toll to 11, officials said Sunday.

Seven soldiers in all including a champion shooter and four attackers were killed at the Pathankot base in the northern state of Punjab, after heavily armed gunmen suspected to be from the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed group infiltrated the key station early Saturday.

The assault - a rare targeting of an Indian military installation outside disputed Kashmir - comes a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a surprise visit to Pakistan, the first by an Indian premier in 11 years.

An Indian army official, who declined to be named, told AFP one of the dead was a lieutenant-colonel in the elite commando unit National Security Guard.

The official said the officer and two other soldiers were injured Sunday when a bomb they were trying to defuse exploded during a search of the site.

Air force spokeswoman Rochelle D'Silva said three of 12 soldiers injured in the battle died in hospital on Sunday.

The Pathankot air base houses dozens of jet fighters and is important for its strategic location about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Pakistan border.

Pathankot police chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh official said the search would continue until they were satisfied the area was free of militants or munitions.