8 killed in LeT Fidayeen attack on CRPF centre; terrorists escape

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Rampur/Lucknow, Jan 1 (UNI) In a daring fidayeen attack -- the first of its kind in Uttar Pradesh -- at least eight people, including seven CRPF jawans were killed and five others injured when at least two Laskhar-e-Toiba(LeT) terrorists attacked the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) group centre in Rampur district early today.

State Additional Director General of Police (Crime, Law and Order and STF) Brijlal told UNI that all the seven security personnel killed belonged to the CRPF, while a rickshaw-puller sleeping nearby was also killed in firing.

The ADG admitted that the two fidayeen, responsible for the attack, managed to escape before the securitymen could retaliate.

The state had witnessed its first fidayeen attack on July 5, 2005 when a group of LeT militants stormed the makeshift Ram Lalla temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. But they were eliminated by alert PAC and CRPF personnel before they could target the temple.

This is the first ever fidayeen attack on a security establishment in the state. In October, 2001, LeT militants had stromed the CRPF camp in Jharoda Kalan on the outskirts of the National Capital.

Earlier, it was reported that one of the terrorist was killed and of the total casualties, five were CRPF jawans and two UP police personnel. ''It was dark...they started firing at us and hurled a grenade,' said Inderpal Singh, a UP Police constable injured in the attack from a Meerut hospital where he is recovering from a grenade splinter wound. His condition is stated to be normal.

The ADG said, at least two fidayeen entered the CRPF group centre through the arms-ammunition gate after opening fire at the UP police barricade at around 0300 hrs. They also hurled grenades and fired from their AK-47s. The terrorists were dressed in the uniform of the CRPF and they did not use any vehicle to reach the gate, the ADG said.

Two CRPF jawans died at the gate and five others near the control room, the ADG said, adding that one sub-inspector and two constables of the UP police and two CRPF jawans were injured in the attack.

The entire area had been cordoned and search operations launched to nab the terrorist who were ''hiding somewhere in the jungle area around the vast CRPF camp''.

'' There is a possibility that the militants escaped through the nearby railway lines.'' He also denied any security lapses in the incident claiming that one company of PAC along with several district policemen were deployed at the CRPF group centre following an alert issued by the intelligence agencies last month.

''Security was at the maxiumum alert even after the completion of the recruitment drive at the group centre on December 25,'' he said.

Mr Brijlal said the injured jawans have been shifted to hospital at the neighbouring district of Moradabad where the condition of one of them was stated to be critical.

Senior police officials from the nearby district have rushed to the spot along with additional security forces, he added. ''Teams of Special Task Force and the newly-formed Anti-Terrorist Squad have been trushed to Rampur to assist CRPF and the local police in tracking down the perpetrators,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal said in Kanpur that the security forces were ready to hit back.

''The morale is high...the attack is a result of CRPF's continous actions against militants,'' he added.

BJP president Rajnath Singh and party vice-president Mukhtar Abbbas Naqvi were airdashing to Rampur to assess the situation.

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