LeT suicide bombers killed in UP encounter

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Lucknow, Dec 23: The Special Task Force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh police early today gunned down two unidentified suicide bombers of the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) planning to target Chief Minister Mayawati on the outskirts of the state capital.

''A map in Urdu recovered from them seems to that of area near the Chief Minister's residence...but further investigations would throw more light on it,'' said Additional Director General of Police (Crime/law and order and STF) Brij Lal after the encounter. The STF team recovered a suicide belt, its battery, a detonator and two Kalashnikov rifles from their possession.

Besides, four magazines of AK-47 loaded with 30 live rounds each and ten hand grenades and as many grenade fuses were also recovered from the car in which they were travelling. The ammunition was being carried in a black handbag kept in the rear seat of the Maruti 800 car they were driving. The car was bearing a Lucknow registration number (UP 32A 4374). ''The registration number could be a fake one,'' he said.

''We had infiltrated their module, hence we knew they belonged to LeT,'' the ADG said adding that the two entered UP from the porus Indo-Nepal border. This news agency had last week reported the presence of the module in the state with a specific task to target the Chief Minister.

When button-holed by the STF near Chinhat area around 0550 hrs, the two jumped out of the car -- which had hit a roadside 'pulia' --firing from their assault rifles. They also raised 'Lashkar zindabad' slogans while firing at the police. A retaliatory firing resulted in their instant death. They had expended all the rounds in the AK 47s (believed to be 60, with 30 rounds each in the two magazines). The car was coming from the neighbouring Barabanki district from where the STF and the city police had yesterday arrested two Harkat-ul-Jehad Islami terrorists involved in Gorakhpur blasts of May 22, 2007 and the recent cycle blasts on court premises in Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi.

''A woman journalist who could read Urdu told us that the map carried details of police barricading around the CM's residence...it seems the map was of the area near CM's residence,'' Mr Brij Lal added.

Several spent cartridges of the assault riles were seen strewn around their dead bodies.

Security experts have in the recent past differenctiated between suicide bombers and fidayeen. While a suicide bomber blows him or herself up near the target, a fidayeen often takes on the security forces using small arms before getting killed. At times fidayeen are able to escape after killing or maiming security personnel.

UNI

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