Fierce gunbattle in Kashmir ends, two fidayeen killed

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Srinagar, Oct 12 (UNI) The nearly 12-hour-long gunfight between militants and the security forces in the heart of the city ended this morning with the killing of the second member of the suicide squad (fidayeen), which stormed a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp here last evening.

Addressing a news conference here, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldeep Khoda said the two 'fidayeen' who tried to storm the CRPF camp set up at Hotel Boulevard on the busy Boulevard Road were eliminated by the police and the CRPF personnel in a joint operation.

Giving details, he said immediately after Iftar (breaking of fast) yesterday at around 1815 hours, two 'fidayeen' intruded in to the CRPF camp on the banks of Dal Lake after hurling grenades.

However, as a result of quick reaction from the CRPF personnel, the two 'fidayeen' got holed up in the parking area next to the camp and took up positions near the junk lying there, the DGP added.

He said the police along with the CRPF personnel surrounded the area, resulting in a fierce gunbattle.

In an effort to minimise the casualties and to avoid collateral damage to the nearby commercial property, night assault was avoided and close quarter battle weapons were used in the operation during which one of the two 'fidayeen' was killed, Mr Khoda added.

He said the mopping up operation began at around 0500 hrs today, resulting in the death of the second 'fidayeen'.

Mr Khoda said the two 'fidayeen' were Pakistani militants and have been identified as Abu Hashim and Abu Zahid as per the documents seized from their possession.

He said two AK-56 rifles, eight magazines, four grenades, 52 rounds of ammunition and one mobile phone were also seized from their possession.

The DGP further said that only three CRPF personnel received minor injuries in the initial attack last evening. They were discharged after receiving first aid.

The banned Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba had claimed the responsibility for the attack Lashkar spokesman Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi telephoned offices of several media organisations here, claiming that three cadres of his group had stormed the CRPF camp, killing and wounding several security personnel in the attack.

The attack came barely few hours ahead of the beginning of a three-day unilateral ceasefire declared by the Muzaffarabad-based United Jehad Council on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr.

The attack also came at a time when Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was hosting an Iftar party at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre, a few km away from the CRPF camp.

UNI

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