Wednesday, January 17, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Bid to storm Srinagar airport
6 Fidayeen, 2 jawans killed; bank official, 13-yr-old die in crossfire
Tribune News Service
and agencies

SRINAGAR, Jan 16 — Six militants of the Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit were killed when they made a suicide attack to enter the Srinagar airport here this afternoon. Two CRPF jawans and two civilians including a minor girl, were killed in the exchange of fire between the militants and the security forces.

The Lashkar-e-Toiba claimed responsibility for the attack when it rang up some local newspapers offices here soon after the suicide attack. A spokesman for the outfit said the suicide squad (Fidayeen) was led by Salahuddin.

Reports said six militants dressed in BSF uniforms approached the gate of the airport and opened fire on securitymen, injuring at least eight CRPF personnel. 

Jammu and Kashmir police frisk an auto driver at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Tuesday.
Jammu and Kashmir police frisk an auto driver at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Tuesday. Security has been beefed up in the valley after a grenade attack on the Chief Minister by militants and the forthcoming Republic Day — PTI photo

Two of the jawans later succumbed to their injuries. Four militants were killed on the spot. Two civilians — M.A. Munir, an employee of Ellaquai Dehati Bank and a 13-year-old girl — were killed in the exchange of fire.

Two other militants entered the shopping complex near the outer gate of the airport and opened fire indiscriminately. Shops were gutted in the retaliatory fire in which the two militants were killed.

Munir of Ellaquai Dehati Bank, received a full burst of gun-fire on his face, the police said, adding that his identity was ascertained from his identity card.

However, the girl, who received several bullets in her body, was yet to be identified, the officials said.

Six assault rifles and a large quantity of ammunition and grenades were recovered from the killed militants, they said.

The Chief Minister, accompanied by DGP have flown from Jammu to the site of the incident.

The Lashkar-e-Toiba had earlier also made an attempt to enter the airport premises on January 7. However, there were no casualties. The police here had denied the report. However, the reports said five militants reached the outer gate in police uniforms and had asked the securitymen that they should be allowed to enter the premises to receive their officer. However, the CRPF personnel did not allow them to enter the airport. The militants went back in a Tata Sumo. They had forcibly taken away the Tata Sumo from a taxi driver.

Security had been tightened at the airport following the attack.

Traffic on the Humhama-airport road was stopped soon after the attack.

A heavy deployment of troops was made at Humhama.

“For some time there was heavy firing”, a resident of Humhama told TNS on telephone. He said later intermittent shots of fire could be heard from the airport side.

This is the fourth such attack since the ongoing ceasefire started, particularly after the announcement by the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference to visit Pakistan.

The Lashkar-e-Toiba spokesman had also identified the militants who made today’s abortive attempt. Five names given by him were the same as those of who had made a similar attempt on January 7.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson said flights between New Delhi and Srinagar and Jammu and Srinagar operated as usual.

The attack took place at gate number one at Humhama which is far away from the main airport complex, he said.

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