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Fidayeen terror back in Valley, 5 dead
Disguised as cricketers, two Hizb ultras enter school compound, open fire on CRPF men
Majid Jahangir/TNS

Morning strike

10.50 am: Two militants, disguised as cricket players, enter a school compound in Bemina area of Srinagar
The compound is adjacent to CRPF 73 battalion headquarters
With weapons concealed in their kit bags, they mix with other players for over 10 minutes.
11 am: Militants open indiscriminate fire on securitymen
As most CRPF men were on reserve duty, they didn’t have weapons to retaliate.
11.20 am: The two militants are gunned down after a 20-minute fierce encounter
The fidayeen attack has taken place in the Valley after nearly three years. The last such attack happened in Srinagar in 2010.

Srinagar, March 13
In the first fidayeen (suicide) attack after nearly three years in the Valley, two militants hiding automatic rifles and grenades in cricket kits opened fire on CRPF personnel near a school in Bemina area in the heart of Srinagar on Wednesday, killing five paramilitary men.

The two militants, who entered the J-K Police Public School ground on the pretext of playing cricket, were also eliminated during a gunbattle which lasted about 20 minutes, officials said.

Five CRPF men and four youngsters who were playing cricket were also injured in the attack, which occurred on the day when Kashmir was observing a shutdown demanding return of the mortal remains of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru to the Valley.

"Prima facie, the terrorists don't appear to be local but from across the border and the first impression is that they are possibly from Pakistan," Union Home Secretary R K Singh said in New Delhi.

Pro-Pakistan militant group Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attack. Hizb spokesman told a local news agency over phone that two guerillas of the outfit carried out the attack. “It was a guerilla attack and Hizb militants will carry out more such attacks in the future too,” he told the news agency. The J-K Police said the attack bears Lashkar-e-Toiba’s signature too. “It looks that the attack was carried out by Lashkar. The attack had their signature,” said DIG (Kashmir) Ahfad-ul-Mujtaba.

“It was a well-planned strike. Militants had done a careful recce of the area which is a high-security zone housing a CRPF camp, a police post and police housing quarters,” said police sources.

The police said the militants had entered the school ground by scaling a boundary wall made of iron mesh around 10.50 am. No student or teacher was in the school at the time of the attack due to the ongoing strike.

“Whenever the school is closed, the youngsters from nearby localities usually play cricket in the school compound. Preliminary investigation shows that militants came in the guise of local cricketers. They had concealed weapons and grenades inside their kits,” said the DIG. A J&K policeman who was also in the school compound said the two militants opened indiscriminate fire around 11 am. “We were on a reserve duty and relaxing when we saw two militants armed with assault rifles firing on the CRPF men and hurling grenades. They fired indiscriminately and most of us had no weapon to retaliate. The militants were finally eliminated after a fierce gunbattle,” he said.

One of the injured youngsters, Mudassir Ahmed from Bemina, said they were busy playing when the attack took place. “We were playing and all of a sudden firing began. I started running towards the road. Suddenly I realised I have been hit by bullets. I fell down and managed to drag myself towards my locality. Later, they shifted me to a hospital,” said Mudassir.

“We had decided to keep the schools closed during strike. So thankfully there were no children in the school at that time,” said Tazeem Wahidi, principal of the school.





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