Eight soldiers were killed and 13 others were wounded after heavily-armed militants ambushed a military convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying army personnel on the outskirts of Srinagar before lobbing a grenade and fleeing the scene, killing eight soldiers and injuring paramilitaries in the deadliest such attack in five years, reports Reuters.

Militant group Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack, which came amid a high state of alert ahead of a landmark visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the Himalayan territory.

Singh strongly condemned the attack, according to AFP.

“This cowardly attack will not deter the security forces who are engaged in bringing peace and order to the Kashmir valley,” he said in a statement.

Kashmir, a valley divided between India and Pakistan, has been wracked by rebel attacks against Indian forces.

Mohammad Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri Muslim, was secretly executed in New Delhi in February for his role in a deadly attack on India’s parliament in 2001. His death has triggered widespread protests in Kashmir.