Militants Line Up To Claim Responsibility For Army Depot Fire
11 August 2007
New Delhi: An accidental fire in an army ordinance depot in Jammu and Kashmir today resulted in militant groups lining up to claim responsibility for the incident - an act that security agencies said reflected the desperation among terrorists in the state. Initial reports said the fire that shook a small village in Anantnag district in the morning was caused by the mishandling of explosives during an inspection, but terrorist groups claimed it was their 'work'. As news of the fire spread from the Field Ordnance Depot in Khandroo, Pakistan- based Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen (JuM) was the first to claim reponsibility for the incident. The militant group, which has a strength of less than 100 cadres and is active only in some parts of north Kashmir, faxed its claim to all news organisations in the Kashmir Valley. The JuM claimed three of its cadres fired two rockets at the depot, resulting in the fire that caused huge losses to the army. Its spokesman Jamil Ahmad said in a statement that the team of militants would be given a cash reward of Rs five lakh for the 'successful operation'. Within an hour, a spokesman for Hizbul Mujahideen, another Pakistan-based terror group, called a local news agency to claim responsibility for the incident. Senior police officials in Kashmir said this phenomenon was not new as militant groups, under pressure from their Pakistani handlers to show results, had earlier too claimed responsibility for accidental blasts and fires.