Three Killed, 12 Hurt In Militant Attack In Kashmir
12 October 2006
Srinagar: Three policemen were killed and eight wounded when Islamist militants attacked a security camp in the heart of Srinagar, the main city in Indian Kashmir, police and witnesses said. Four civilians were also hurt in the attack which began at around 11.30 a.m. (0600 GMT) in the heavily congested market area of Lal Chowk, and was continuing nearly seven hours later.'Two injured policemen are in a serious condition,' senior police officer Farooq Ahmad told Reuters. The attack began when a small group of militants threw a grenade near a security camp and then entered a hotel building opposite the camp and began firing at it. The market street emptied within minutes as people panicked. Dozens of security personnel rushed to the spot and returned fire, a Reuters reporter at the scene said. Security forces escorted around 200 to 300 people out of nearby shops and buildings, but some people could still be seen trapped inside shops whose shutters had been pulled down. Militant outfit Al-Mansurian claimed responsibility for the attack. 'Three members of our suicide squad have attacked a security camp. They are still alive,' a man claiming to be a spokesman of the organization, said in telephone calls made to local newspaper offices. He did not give a reason for the attack. Kashmir has seen almost daily street protests over the past week since a Delhi court fixed October 20 as the date for hanging a Kashmiri man, convicted for his role in a 2001 attack on the Indian parliament. Mohammed Afzal's wife has since appealed to the president for clemency. The Himalayan region has been rocked by a separatist insurgency since 1989 in which more than 45,000 people have been killed but violence levels have come down since India and Pakistan launched a peace process in 2004. Kashmir is split between the nuclear-armed rivals but is claimed in full by both. Last month, leaders of the two nations decided to set up a joint agency to fight terrorism.