In a surgical operation that lasted for more than 22 hours, security forces on Thursday claimed they have killed two Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) militants holed up inside a hotel in Srinagar after they fired at a CRPF picket at commercial hub Lal Chowk on Wednesday.
IG CRPF NC Asthana confirmed that two militants have been killed in the operation.
“We suspect one more militant has been killed but we have only recovered two bodies,” said Asthana. He said the operation took time because the security forces were busy in evacuation of civilian population stuck in the nearby building. “We ensured that before the final assault in the morning that civilians are evacuated from the nearby buildings,” said Asthana.
DGP Kashmir Kuldeep Khuda identified one of the militants as Abu Qari of Pakistan. “Identity of the other militant is being ascertained,” said Khuda. He said the militants belong to the LeT.
Fire tenders are busy in dousing the flames, which emerged from the hotel where the militants were hiding. Security forces have cordoned off the entire Lal Chowk and the mopping operation of the encounter site is on to recovered dead and live explosives and weapons.
Hotel Panjab in the busy Lal Chowk area in the heart of the city caught fire this morning as the security forces inched closer to the militants who were holed up in the top floor and were hurling grenades and firing at them.
The operation launched by police and paramilitary CRPF to neutralise the militants, suspended at around 11 PM yesterday,
was resumed at 0700 hours today, officials said.
The security forces stormed the hotel before noon and conducted room to room searches after people from nearby buildings were evacuated.
Meanwhile, one of the eight civilians injured in the incident yesterday succumbed to his wounds this morning at the
A police constable was killed when militants hurled grenades at security forces in Lal Chowk area before they
entered the hotel.
(With PTI inputs)