NEW DELHI : Just four months after the Pulwama suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy, a Pakistan-based terrorist group on Wednesday ambushed a security patrol in south Kashmir’s Anantnag town, killing five CRPF men.

The attack on the patrolling party, which included personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, also critically injured three soldiers. One terrorist was killed in retaliatory firing. The forces also recovered an AK-47 from the dead terrorist.

“At K.P. Chowk in Cheegali, near the general bus stand in Anantnag, troops of the 116 battalion deployed for duties were fired upon by suspected vehicle-borne terrorists," said a senior CRPF officer in New Delhi.

The attack took place at 4.55pm, the CRPF said, when “motorcycle-borne terrorists fired upon troops who were on duty. Five CRPF jawan attained martyrdom, three others were injured and evacuated to Janglad Mandi Hospital. One militant had been neutralized, and the area cordoned off. Reinforcements reached and firing ensued."

The station house officer (SHO) of Anantnag Police Station, Arshad Ahmed, was injured in the attack and was shifted to Srinagar for treatment.

Pakistan-based terror group Al Umar Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the Anantnag attack. The group is headed by Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, a Kashmiri militant. Zargar was one of the terrorists who had been arrested in India and later released in December 1999 along with Maulana Masood Azhar, following the hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight IC-814.

The attack comes just weeks before the Amarnath Yatra is set to be flagged off in Jammu and Kashmir—and hours after Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik urged militants to give up arms, and invited them to talks.

Malik said in a press conference that constructive dialogues were the only way to resolve the crisis in the Valley, within the ambit of the Constitution.