Lashkar Hand In J&K Encounter, Group Warns Of More Attacks On Army

24 March 2009
The Times of India

Srinagar: Hardline Pakistan-based terrorist group Laskar-e-Taiba warned on Wednesday of fresh attacks against Indian troops, and said its fighters were responsible for days of fighting in Kashmir. Eight soldiers and 17 terrorists were killed in gunbattle that started on Saturday in Kashmir's Kupwara district, close to the Line of Control (LoC). Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) said its members were involved in the fighting, one of the fiercest in recent years. 'The gunbattle should serve as a message to India that struggle for Kashmir's freedom is on with full vigour,' Lashkar spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi said, warning of more attacks on Indian troops. He was speaking by telephone from an undisclosed location. Ghaznavi said Lashkar members had initiated the gunbattle by ambushing an army column in the forest area. He said the fighting left 25 Indian soldiers and ten Lashkar men dead. The Indian army said eight soldiers and 17 rebels were killed, and that the operation was launched by the soldiers after they were tipped off. The Indian government has blamed the terror outfit for the deadly attacks in Mumbai late last year that killed over 180 people. It has denied any role in the attacks.