Encounter in Srinagar on for 20 hours; intermittent firing reported

SRINAGAR: An encounter between terrorists and security forces is underway, Tuesday, near the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) 23 Battalion Headquarters at Karan Nagar in Srinagar. The intermittent firing was reported through the night. Terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs, Abdul Rehman Veeri, informed the state Assembly that a CRPF personnel was martyred in the ongoing encounter. Providing details, the minister said that at about 4:30 am on Monday, a sentry at CRPF 23 Battalion Headquarters spotted two militants carrying 'pithu' (backpack) bags and armed with AK-47 rifles. He opened fire due to which the militants escaped towards a nearby locality.

The minister said that a search was conducted. The search party was fired upon near Gole Market which led to an encounter, he added. He said the militants have been cornered in an abandoned house near 23 Battalion CRPF headquarters. The encounter is still on, he added.

As darkness enveloped the Karan Nagar area, loud explosions and the rattle of automatic gunfire could be intermittently heard, officials and residents said. The site is barely 300 metres from the SMHS Hospital from where Pakistani LeT militant Naveed Jat alias Abu Hunzullah escaped on February 06 after two policemen lost their lives.

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Police said residents in the vicinity had been evacuated to safety. Internet services were suspended in the area. A caller identifying himself as Mehmood Shah of the Lashkar-e-Taiba telephoned a local news agency owning responsibility for the attack on the headquarters of the 23 battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force.

Jammu and Kashmir police chief SP Vaid congratulated the "alert CRPF sentry" for averting what could have been a suicide attack on the CRPF camp. "Fortunately two terrorists are in cordon and exchange of fire going on."

The attempted attack on the CRPF camp comes two days after militants stormed an Army camp at Sunjuwan in Jammu in which five soldiers and a civilian lost their lives. At least three terrorists were also slain.

 

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