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4 killed in suicide attack on Srinagar security picket
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, November 14
Four persons including two civilians and two security force personnel were killed and 13 injured in a militantsí suicide attack on a security picket in the Lal Chowk area here this afternoon.

Eyewitnesses and the police said that the attack was launched at 3-10 p.m. when militants hurled a grenade towards CRPF bunker located at the crossing. Two CRPF men and two civilians were killed and 13 others injured in the initial attack when militants hurled grenades towards the picket.

Two grenades were also hurled by militants from their hiding positions in the Peak View hotel and Coronation Hotel buildings, reports said. Militants believed to be two in number, according to a CRPF spokesman, tried to sneak into the bunker. The attempt was foiled by the jawans, which forced the two militants to enter two nearby hotels in Palladium Gali where they were trapped, he said.

Two militant outfits, Al-Mansoorian and the Islamic Front jointly claimed responsibility for the attack. A spokesman of the two outfits told media agencies here that four militants belonging to these outfits had launched the attack. These outfits have claimed responsibility of the major attacks in Lal Chowk area this year with the beginning of attack on Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) on April 6, hours before the inauguration of the Srinagar Muzaffarabad bus service from here.

The two civilians killed in the attack have been identified as Ghulam Mohammad Lone of Chhanapora locality here and Mohammad Yusuf Bhat from the Kulgam area in Anantnag district. Those injured included a journalist and two jawans of the CRPF, who have been hospitalised, the police here said. The CRPF jawans killed in the attack were identified Constables Ghanshyam and Dhnanjay Singh of 131 CRPF posted in the area.

This is first suicide attack in central Lal Chowk area after Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad assumed power in the state here on November 2. Two militants were killed in a 24-hour long operation in Budshah Chowk on July 29 while 25 others, including eight journalists were injured in the incident. The militants had also attacked the cavalcade of a minister in the same area on July 6 in which the minister escaped unhurt. Two women were killed and over 30 students were injured in another grenade attack outside a school in Lal Chowk earlier this year.

The police and security agencies have suspended the operation for the night to avoid collateral damage. All civilians were evacuated and operation launched to flush out hiding militants, the police said. Till the reports last came in the siege of the area was on, while the operation to flush out militants would be launched tomorrow morning. 

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