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Battle for Control of Indian Air Base Enters 2nd Night

  • Anjana Pasricha

Indian security forces patrol inside the Indian air force base that came under attack Saturday in Pathankot, India, Jan. 3, 2016.

Indian security forces patrol inside the Indian air force base that came under attack Saturday in Pathankot, India, Jan. 3, 2016.

The battle for control of an Indian air base near the Pakistan border entered a second night on Sunday, more than 36 hours after the compound came under attack. Authorities say at least seven troops and four gunmen had been killed by nightfall, with 12 others wounded.

The attack on the Pathankot air base erupted before dawn on Saturday, with analysts saying it threatens to stall recent diplomatic advances between New Delhi and Islamabad.

As the fighting entered a second day, officials said Indian troops engaged two gunmen in a wooded area as cleanup operations were under way to secure the base in Punjab state. Soon after, the sound of explosions and gunfire rang out.

The airbase houses dozens of fighter aircraft.

Pathankot, India

Pathankot, India

Indian Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi told reporters that quick action by security forces ensured there was "no damage to the assets of the air force and that... the apparent main aim of the terrorists stands defeated.”

Authorities blamed Pakistan-based Islamic militants for the attack, with some reports linking it to the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Peace overtures between India and Pakistan picked up momentum last week, after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unannounced visit to Pakistan on December 25. It was the first trip to the country by an Indian prime minister in more than a decade.

FILE - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meet in Lahore after Modi paid a surprise visit, Dec. 25, 2015.

FILE - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meet in Lahore after Modi paid a surprise visit, Dec. 25, 2015.

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