Attack on CRPF in Sopore, battle on with militants inside hotel
8 November 2007
The Indian Express
Express News Service
Srinagar: Even as the Army and the police are involved in a massive operation to flush out militants from north Kashmir’s Pattan pocket since Tuesday evening, the police have surrounded two more militants who are holed up in a hotel at Main Chowk in Sopore. The police said two CRPF personnel have been injured in the encounter. The operation started after some militants fired upon a CRPF bunker at main Chowk in Sopore on Thursday afternoon. “The attack was repulsed and the fire was retaliated due to which militants took refuge in Hotel New- Light at main Chowk,” he said. The hotel was immediately surrounded by the police. To avoid any civilian casualties, the civilians in the hotel were evacuated by the police. Sopore Additional Superintendent of Police Mir Imtiyaz said that around four hundred people who were holed up were rescued by the police safely. “ There were over hundred people who were in the hotel at the time of the attack and were later evacuated,” he said. ASP said that two CRPF men were injured, one of them critically, in the encounter. While the firing is going on between the holed-up militants and the police, Kashmir Inspector General of Police S M Sahai is on the spot to monitor the operation. The police also got the nearby buildings vacated and have cordoned off the target hotel. The police said that assault operation against the militants will be launched on Friday morning. Meanwhile, Lashker- e-Toiba (LeT) has claimed responsibility for the attack. The LeT spokesman, Dr Abdullah Gaznavi, in a telephonic statement to the local news agencies said that four LeT cadres attacked the CRPF camp and in the initial round of firing “killed” five CRPF men.