Hotel worker killed as militants target Army convoy in Valley

SUSPECTED militants today opened fire at an Army convoy near a prominent hotel on the outskirts of Srinagar, killing a bellboy and injuring two others in the first attack on security forces in the city since May.

Inspector General of Police S M Sahai said the incident occurred at about 4:30 pm, when three to four militants fired on the Army vehicles outside the Silver Star Hotel. “The militants then entered the hotel and killed an employee and injured two others,” he said. When asked if the hotel was the target, Sahai said it was too early to say anything.

A police spokesman said initial investigations showed that the militants had planned to attack the convoy on the highway. “They did not succeed and then tried to enter a nearby hotel… They fired indiscriminately, killing one employee of the hotel and injuring two others,” he said.

No militant group has claimed responsibility so far.

The victim has been identified as Farooq Ahmad. The condition of another hotel employee is reported to be critical.

“I was walking on the highway when I saw four men with rucksacks opening fire on some Army vehicles,’’ said Mohammad Aslam, a resident of nearby Lasjan area. “After firing some shots, these men sneaked inside the hotel. Later, I heard more shots inside the hotel,’’ he said.

Over two dozen people, including guests, were reported to be inside the hotel at the time of the attack. “I was in a room when I heard gunshots in the hotel compound. When I rushed out, I saw three of our employees injured,’’ said a hotel employee.

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