At least 12 people, including four policemen and an six army personnel, were killed as militants first attacked a police station in Hiranagar town of Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and later stormed an Army camp in adjoining Samba district on Thursday morning.
Both the attacks came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh confirmed his meeting with Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharief in United States on the sidelines of a United Nations session.
Sources said that the terrorists, who were in Army uniform, first came to Hiranagar police station and before anybody could understand anything, they suddenly opened fire with AK rifles leaving little chance for the cops to react. Thereafter, they fled towards Kathua-Jammu national highway and boarded a truck on way to adjoining Samba district.
As they entered Samba, the terrorists boarded off the truck near a Kendriya Vidyalya at Maheshwar - an Army cantonment area - and stormed into an Army camp resulting into a fierce gunbattle between two sides. Six armymen were reported to have been killed, sources said, adding that the encounter was in progress.
The truck driver, in whose vehicle terrorists had travelled from Hiranagar to Samba, was also among the killed.
The terrorists attack in Hiranagar came after nearly a decade as they had killed seven people in firing on a passenger bus on the national highway in October 2002. In Samba, they had last time struck in 2008 gunning down nearly half a dozen people before getting killed at the hands of security forces.
Meanwhile, movement of vehicular traffic on the Kathua-Jammu national highway was stopped in view of the encounter going on between terrorists and security forces. All the shops and other business establishments in both Samba and Hiranagar towns were closed, with police and security forces raising barricades to prevent escape by terrorists.