Indian security forces battled into Sunday evening to secure an air base near the border with Pakistan, a day after a militant attack that has killed seven military personnel and wounded another 20.
As night fell, it was unclear whether two or more militants were still at large after Saturday’s pre-dawn raid on the Pathankot air base in northwestern Punjab state. Four attackers have been confirmed killed.
“The area cannot be declared fully sanitized,” Air Marshal Anil Khosla told a news briefing in New Delhi.
Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi told reporters he hoped the two believed still to be at large would be “neutralized” overnight. Without recovering their bodies they could not be confirmed dead.
That contradicted earlier statements by home ministry and army officials who, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the two holdouts had been killed.
The attack by gunmen disguised as soldiers came a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unscheduled visit to Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in an effort to revive talks between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Officials said the attack bore the hallmarks of previous suspected assaults by Pakistan-based militant groups, underscoring the fragility of recent efforts to revive bilateral talks between the often uneasy neighbors.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Pakistan has condemned the attack and said it wanted to continue to build on the goodwill created by the impromptu meeting between Modi and Sharif last month.
Gunfire continued into the evening as security forces hunted the remaining attackers in the Indian Air Force base, a sprawling…