Five CRPF men killed in Srinagar as 3-year lull in attacks ends


BREAKING a three-year lull, "fidayeen" militants struck in Srinagar Wednesday and killed five Central Reserve Police Force personnel before both of them were shot dead at the end of a 30-minute gun battle.

Six CRPF men were also injured in the attack which took place when they were getting ready for security duties.

Soon after the attack, CRPF soldiers killed a 37-year-old civilian in the Sadipora Idgah locality in the old city, sparking protests as locals alleged it was a revenge killing by men of the same battalion who were attacked by the militants.

Police said the militants sneaked into the Police Public School ground in Bemina, adjacent to government residential buildings and the police quarters where CRPF personnel were preparing for deployment. The school was closed due to a strike called by separatist groups.

Wearing pouches, the two militants threw grenades and opened fire on the CRPF troops. DIG of police Ahfadul Mujtaba said the attackers were neutralised within half-an-hour. "The CRPF personnel who were attacked were there for deployment on law and order duty. The identity of the slain militants is being ascertained," he said.

Although police officials said the attack had a Lashkar-e-Toiba imprint, Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility and warned of more such attacks. "The guerrilla attack was carried out by our men and similar attacks will be carried out in future as well," a Hizb spokesman told a local news agency in Srinagar.

CRPF IG V S Yadav told The Indian Express that the CRPF men were targeted as they were preparing for deployment. "The fidayeen militants had concealed their weapons in bags looking like cricket kits before they attacked the jawans,'' he said.

Officers who visited the spot said the militants carried out the attack from a ground where boys were playing cricket and four players were also injured. "The militants did not take shelter in any building but opened fire and tossed grenades towards CRPF jawans. The causality could have been higher had all the grenades exploded," said a police officer.

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