M A I N   N E W S

Srinagar siege ends
2 holed-up LeT fidayeen killed
Kumar Rakesh/Tribune News Service

Srinagar, January 7
Both militants holed up in a hotel in Lal Chowk were killed by security forces in a surgical operation today, bringing to an end the 22-hour long gunfight in the heart of the city.

DGP Kuldip Khoda said both militants were from the Lashkar-e-Toiba. He said Pakistan-sponsored terror outfits were getting desperate due to decreasing violence in the state and the attack was borne out of this desperation. One militant, Qari, was a Pakistani, while another, Manzoor Ahmad, hailed from Sopore, as per wireless intercepts obtained by them.

Besides the death of one policeman in the first exchange of fire between the fidayeen (suicide squad) and the security forces, though the police was at pains to claim that it was not a fidayeen attack, the security forces managed mostly a clean operation and one CRPF man suffered a bullet injury as they stormed the hotel, officials said.

However, one civilian from Tangmarg, who was injured yesterday, died today. Eight persons, including some security personnel, were injured yesterday.

As the dawn broke today, joint teams of the CRPF and the police launched the final offensive to flush out the militants. Both militants kept changing positions while lobbing grenades. Official sources said they set upper floors of Punjab Hotel, where they were hiding, afire to target security personnel descending on them.

“One militant jumped from the upper floor to the rear side of the hotel and was shot by our men. The other also jumped after some time as smoke billowed and was also killed,” an official conversant with the operation said.

IG, CRPF, NC Asthana said they initially suspected that three militants could be involved and the final assault on them took time, as they wanted to evacuate civilians trapped in the locality to safety. More than 100 civilians were rescued yesterday.

The sources said both militants were heavily armed with AK rifles and grenades and it showed they had come with the intention of inflicting the maximum damage on the security forces, as was the aim of fidayeens, by engaging them in a gunfight as long as possible.







Ultras were in touch with Pak handlers

New Delhi, January 7
The Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists, who were killed by security forces during the siege at Lal Chowk in Srinagar, were in constant touch with their handlers in Pakistan when they were holed up inside a hotel there.

According to sources in the Union Home Ministry, nearly 700 terrorists, half of them foreign mercenaries, are active in J&K. They said some more attacks were expected to take place as the holed up militants at the hotel in Lal Chowk area had communicated the same to their handlers in Pakistan, the sources said.

According to the official data, 413 infiltration attempts were made from across the border during which 93 terrorists were killed while 110 managed to sneak in. Out of the 110 who had infiltrated, 70 per cent were foreign militants while the remaining locals.

The attacks in Srinagar was a result of shifting of focus of the police forces towards Jammu, which is the winter capital of the state, a senior official of the Home Ministry said. — PTI



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