Troops in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) on Tuesday hunted for gunmen who ambushed an army convoy a day earlier, with the defence minister raising the toll of soldiers killed to five.

Rajnath Singh said he was “deeply anguished” over the “loss of five of our brave Indian Army soldiers”, who were attacked on Monday afternoon in the disputed territory.

“‘Counter-terrorist’ operations are underway,” Singh added in a statement on social media platform X, condemning the attack.

Monday’s incident was the latest in an uptick of attacks in the region. On Sunday, two soldiers and six suspected fighters were killed in two separate gun battles in villages in the Kulgam district, police said.

In June, nine Indian Hindu pilgrims were killed and dozens wounded when a gunman opened fire on a bus carrying them from a shrine in the southern Reasi area.

It was one of the deadliest attacks in years and the first on Hindu pilgrims in Indian-occupied Kashmir since 2017, when gunmen killed seven people in another ambush on a bus.

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