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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Indian Shrine Attacked

LUCKNOW, India -- Unidentified militants blew up a security wall with a car bomb and stormed one of India's most revered Hindu religious sites Tuesday, setting off a fierce gunbattle with police and paramilitary forces that left all five attackers dead, a senior official said.

"Five militants have been killed," said Alok Sinha, the home secretary of Uttar Pradesh state, where the temple complex is located. "Three [members of the] security forces have been injured." The assault lasted nearly two hours.

Sinha said the attackers used two vehicles in the assault: a jeep loaded with bombs that blew up part of a wall at the outer periphery of the high-security complex, and a taxi they used to reach the complex posing as tourists. Sinha said it was too early to say who was involved.

Even before the shootout with police was over, Hindu nationalists blamed Pakistan-backed "jihad terrorists" for the attack and said the incident proved India's recent peace overtures with Islamabad were a failure.

The sprawling 32-hectare complex in the northern city of Ayodhya where the attack took place is at the heart of India's biggest religious controversy. It is where Hindu nationalists demolished an ancient mosque in 1992, sparking religious riots that killed more than 2,000 people.

Ayodhya is guarded at all times by thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers, and the site has multiple barricades where every worshipper is frisked before being allowed in.