A two-man fidayeen (suicide) squad on Wednesday lobbed grenades and opened fire in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk before rushing to a nearby hotel, where they were still holed up.
A policeman was killed and 10 people — six security personnel and four civilians — were injured.
This is the first fidayeen strike in the city since October 2007, when two bombers were killed in an attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp near the Dal Lake.
Eyewitnesses told HT on Wednesday that the militants swore at CRPF personnel at a picket before firing a burst of gunfire and hurling a grenade.
Muhammad Yusuf, a policeman, was killed and a CRPF jawan injured. The police said the militants then took positions inside the hotel, where some civilians are feared trapped.
Claiming responsibility, the pro-Pakistan Jamiat-ul-Mujahedin, in a fax to the Press Trust of India, said the attack was aimed at derailing the “so-called political process” in the state.
Later, the militants and security personnel exchanged heavy fire. Intermittent fire could be heard from both sides till late in the evening.
Inspector General of Police Farooq Ahmad said at least two militants were still inside the hotel. “But most of the civilians have been evacuated. We have shifted people stuck in shops, malls and building at the encounter site.”
Muneeb Ahmad, the owner of a hotel near the attack site, said he was trapped inside with 60 others for six hours before being evacuated.