Terrorist strike in Srinagar city; policeman gunned down
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 06, 2010, 23:49
  
Zeenews Bureau

Srinagar: Terrorists today struck at the heart of Srinagar killing a policeman and injuring seven others after taking hostage number of people in a run-down hotel breaking almost two years of lull of militant violence in the city.

Two men, believed to be Lashker-e-Taiba terrorists, apparently planning to target a security establishment, lobbed grenades and opened indiscriminate fire when they were caught in a routine check near Pladdium chowk in Lal Chowk area.

The militants panicked, fired indiscriminately and rushed towards a small eatery identified as "Punjab Hotel" on the adjacent Court Road.

In the firing and lobbying of grenades by the militants, police constable Mohammed Yusuf, who was driver of Station House Officer of Maisuma, was killed while seven others including a camera person of a New Delhi-based private TV news channel were injured, they said.

Intermittent exchange of fire between the militants and security forces was on as two militants were said to be holed up inside the hotel. The police rescued nearly 100 people from the adjoining area.

Though Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen claimed the responsibility for the attack, Police said it was the handiwork of Lashker terrorists only.

Director General of state Police Kuldeep Khoda told PTI that the police had foiled a possible suicide-attack by the Lashker militants.

The last major terror attack in the city took place on October 11, 2007 at Dalgate area.

The attack comes barely a week after Khoda had recently said there was a drop of 25 per cent in terrorist violence and that no suicide attack had taken place during last two years.

About the possible targets of the suicide attackers, the sources said it could have been the CRPF battalion headquarters located near Amira Kadal bridge, High Court and civil secretariat.

The security personnel have attempted to throw a security ring around the hotel but the possibility of the terrorists sneaking into the adjacent residential area, which is heavily congested.

The sources said that an intelligence input was received yesterday suggesting that Lashker terrorists were planning to carry out a suicide attack in the city. Following the input, the authorities sent messages on mobiles to public at large and officials concerned asking them to be on alert.

Immediately after the attack, the people including shopkeepers present in the area fled to safety in panic, while traffic went off the roads.

The entire area wore a deserted look with reinforcements rushing to the scene to tackle the situation arising out of the first suicide attack in the valley in more than two years.

Militants had carried attacks on specified targets in the outskirts of city which included an attack on pro-dialogue separatist leader Fazl-haq Qureshi and recently attacking two BSF personnel at Soura locality of the city on January two.

Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen (JUM) claimed responsibility for the attack saying "it was aimed at sending a message that militancy is not over in Kashmir".

A police officer said the final assault to neutralise the two holed-up militants in a hotel would be launched only after ensuring the safety of civilians.

"We want to ensure safety of civilians first before launching any offensive against the militants," he said.

The entire area had been cordoned off and all measures had been taken to prevent the escape of ultras under the cover of darkness, the officer said.

-PTI


First Published: Wednesday, January 06, 2010, 23:49


comments powered by Disqus