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Seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims killed in terror attack in Anantnag, Kashmir

File photo of the Amarnath yatra. Photograph: (PTI)

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 10, 2017, 03.49 PM (IST)

Seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims, six of them women, have been killed in a terror attack in Anantnag in Kashmir. 

Nineteen other pilgrims were injured in the attack. 

Five of those killed were from Gujarat and two from Maharashtra.

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There were conflicting reports about the attack, with some reports saying the terrorists had first attacked a police party and then a bus carrying the yatris. 

PTI however reported police as saying the terrorists first attacked a bullet-proof police bunker at Botengoo. The police retaliated, but there were no injuries on either side.

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The terrorists then fired at a police picket near Khannabal, said police.

When the police retaliated this time, the terrorists fled, firing indiscriminately. 

And that the bus -- carrying yatris mostly from Gujarat -- was caught in the crossfire. 

The bus number was reported as GJ09Z9976. 

ANI reported one victim as saying, "We were sleeping, there was firing from both the sides."

Survivors talk about the Amarnath Yatra attack (WION)

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Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti met the injured in Anantnag hospital. 

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"I have no words to condemn this, hope those involved will be arrested and punished soon," she said. 

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "Pained beyond words on the dastardly attack on peaceful Amarnath Yatris in J&K. The attack deserves strongest condemnation from everyone." 

He added, "India will never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks & the evil designs of hate." 

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Both Modi and union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke with both the J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and Governor NN Vohra, assuring them of all possible help. 

Defence minister Arun Jaitley said the "terrorist attack on Amarnath Yatra is the most reprehensible act. This should add to our determination to eliminate terrorism." 

Congress President Sonia Gandhi also expressed sorrow over the attack, asking for an investigation into lapses in security. 

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Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "India will never be intimidated by these terrorist cowards."

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PDP youth president Waheed Ur Rehman Para said, "This is to create communal tension in the state of J&K, darkest era we have seen in our life." 

The PDP shares power with the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir. 

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Jammu and Kashmir's minister of state for education Priya Sethi, speaking to WION, said eight pilgrims had died, and that 14 had been injured. 

PTI reported police as saying the bus should not have been out on the road; that buses on the Amarnath route are not allowed out after 7 pm. 

The attack took place at 8.20 pm. 

The CRPF director general RR Bhatnagar told media that the bus had been behind a J&K police jeep, that the terrorists fired at the jeep first, but that he could not be certain of who the target might have been. 

Bhatnagar said the bus was not registered with the Amarnath Yatra Shrine Board. 

He added that the bus carrying registered Amarnath yatris was part of a convoy and had crossed the attack site during the day. 

He added further that a CRPF camp located 3.5 km away from the attack site had also been attacked but that jawans had foiled the attack and that nobody had been injured.  

Meanwhile, ANI reported that internet services had been blocked in Kashmir in view of the tense situation and that troops of 90 battalion and 40 battalion of the CRPF had been rushed to the attack site. 

Watch video of visuals from the attack site below:  

Another 15 yatris were injured in the attack (WION)

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Former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: "The one thing we had all feared this year during the yatra. In spite of recent successes against militants & unprecedented force presence." 

He added: "Very sad news. The attack cannot be condemned strongly enough. My sympathies to the families & prayers for the injured."

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Gujarat chief minister condemned the attack and said that "India will never get bogged down by such acts". 

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