The brazen attack took place ahead of Sep 29 meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif in New York and left six policemen, four soldiers and two civilians killed in two terror strikes in Kathua and Samba districts.
The three heavily armed militants stormed the Hira Nagar police station in Kathua district of Jammu region early Thursday. The police station is barely seven km from the Pakistan border.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the three terrorists had sneaked into the state barely 12 hours before they struck at the police station in Kathua.
"The militants fired indiscriminately after entering the police station, killing four police personnel on the spot and injuring four policemen. The militants also killed a shopkeeper...(and) took away a truck from inside the police station...," a senior police officer told IANS.
"The militants killed the driver of the truck and forced the helper of the truck to drive it. They travelled around 18 km from Hira Nagar in the stolen truck on the Pathankot-Jammu highway after which they entered the army officers' mess of Samba Brigade," said the official, who shared chilling details of the terror attack.
The army officers' mess is about 1.5 km ahead of the brigade headquarters in Samba district.
"Once inside the officers' mess, the militants fired indiscriminately, killing four army personnel, including a lieutenant-colonel and three other ranks. The militants were engaged in a sustained gunfight by army soldiers inside the mess and intermittent firing exchanges are still going on there," the official said.
The official said two police personnel injured in Hira Nagar police station terror attack died of injuries, pushing to 12 the toll in the terror strike.
The three terrorists were later killed.
A defence spokesman told IANS that all the three terrorists who had entered the officers' mess have been killed and the operation against the terrorists is over.
"The exact identities of the slain terrorists are being established," the spokesman said.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told reporters in Srinagar that the guerrillas who carried out the terror strike had entered India 12 hours before they struck at the police station.
He said the attack was carried out with the objective to derail the forthcoming meeting between Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif in New York.
"If the dialogue process gets stalled by this attack, it would be great injustice with those martyred in today's incident," he said.
Army sources said they took the help of helicopters to bring in army commandos to the shootout site.
The Samba Brigade belongs to the 9 Corps, which is headquartered in Himachal Pradesh. It falls under the army's Western Command.
--IANS (Posted on 26-09-2013)