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India Defense Minister Visits Scene of Attack in Kashmir
VOA News
23 Jul 2003, 11:07 UTC

India's defense minister has visited the scene of Tuesday's attack on an army camp in Indian Kashmir, vowing the incident will not effect peace efforts with rival Pakistan.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Defense Minister George Fernandes blamed the Pakistani-based Muslim separatist group Lashkar-e-Taiba for Tuesday's violence. He said India will not let separatist rebels derail the peace process with Pakistan.

Seven Indian soldiers were killed when at least two militants attacked an army camp. Two attackers were killed in the ensuing gunfight. Hours later, a third assailant threw grenades at senior military officers who had come to inspect the site. A brigadier general was killed and three other officers were wounded.

India's official news agency reported that Al Shuhda Brigade - a militant group said to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack.

A fax received by the Press Trust of India agency, said the attack was carried out to protest remarks made by a Pakistani opposition leader, Fazul ur-Rahman visiting India, who said the cease-fire line in Kashmir should be converted into a permanent international border.

Tuesday's violence came a day after seven Hindu pilgrims were killed and 25 others wounded in two grenade explosions near a famous Hindu Shrine in Kashmir.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.



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