Siege at the military camp stretches into second day after suspected rebels stormed the Sunjuwan army base in Jammu region of India-administered Kashmir. Indian army has deployed tanks and helicopters for the ongoing operation.

Indian army soldiers take positions outside the residential quarters on the second day of a rebel attack at Sunjwan Army camp in Jammu on February 11, 2018.
Indian army soldiers take positions outside the residential quarters on the second day of a rebel attack at Sunjwan Army camp in Jammu on February 11, 2018. (AFP)

The death toll from a rebel attack on an army base in the India-administered Kashmir climbed to 10, police said on Sunday, as a siege at the compound stretched into a second day.

A firefight erupted on Saturday when an unknown number of rebels stormed the Sunjuwan army base in Jammu, the second-largest city in the disputed Himalayan region bordering Pakistan.

Authorities initially said four people were killed in the brazen pre-dawn strike, but updated the death toll as elite Indian commandos flanked by armoured vehicles and helicopters searched the sprawling compound.

"Five soldiers, one civilian and four terrorists have been killed so far," the region's police chief Shesh Paul Vaid said. 

Nine others, including women and children, were injured in the attack.

Tanks and helicopters employed

Local broadcasters showed tanks rolling into the camp late on Saturday and a helicopter hovering overhead as the attack unfolded.

Police said the assault began around 4:55 am on Saturday (2325 GMT Friday) when guards came under a hail of bullets near the base's boundary wall.

The intruders took positions inside a residential complex meant for soldiers' families as the army launched a counter-offensive to drive them out.

Unclear if the gunmen remain in the base

It is still unclear whether any gunmen remain on the compound.

Hindu-majority Jammu, located in the foothills of the mountainous region, is relatively peaceful but has repeatedly seen assaults on military bases close to the frontier with Pakistan.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from Britain in 1947. Both claim the territory in full and have fought two wars over the region.

Around 100,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in a popular armed revolt that erupted in 1989 by several resistance groups demanding that Kashmir be granted independence or merged with Pakistan.

India has stationed over half a million troops in the region where anti-India sentiment runs deep, with most people supporting the rebel cause. 

Afzal Guru Squad blamed 

Indian army and media have blamed the Jammu attack on Afzal Guru Squad of Pakistan-based rebel group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

No group, including the JeM, has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. 

The brazen assault comes as Kashmir observed a shutdown on Sunday and Friday to mark the death anniversaries of Kashmiri resistance leaders Muhammad Maqbool Bhat and Mohammed Afzal Guru.

Bhat was hanged on February 11, 1984, inside India's highly secured Tihar jail in New Delhi.  

Guru, convicted of role in Indian parliament attack of 2001, was hanged on February 9, 2013 in the same jail. 

India denied their bodies to their relatives and buried them inside the jail premises. 

Guru's execution is an extremely sensitive matter in the Himalayan region, where most people believe his trial was not fair. Several rights groups in India, and political groups in India-administered Kashmir, also question the fairness of his trial.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies