March 2002 News

Kashmir mosque siege over, militants killed

19 March 2002
The Times of India

SRINAGAR: Two militants who were hiding in a mosque in Kashmir were on Tuesday shot dead by troops after a 12-hour siege, officials said.The militants had barricaded themselves inside the shrine late Monday after security forces cordoned off an area in the northern district of Baramulla, 55 km from Srinagar, following a tip-off.''There was an exchange of fire on Monday evening, but it was was calm throughout the night,'' a police spokesman said.An attempt by a group of village elders to persuade the militants to surrender had failed and they were shot dead Tuesday, the spokesman said.Police said both men were foreigners, although they did not specify their nationality.No damage was done to the mosque.It was the fourth time militants had barricaded themselves inside a mosque this year.Mosque sieges present a problem for the security forces who know that a straightforward assault could inflame passions.In February, there were two incidents when militants sought shelter in mosques. One ended with two militants giving themselves up while troops shot dead two others in the second incident.On January 9, security forces shot dead one suspected militant and injured another after an eight-hour stand-off.


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