SrinagarHeavily armed militants Sunday launched a pre-dawn suicide attack on a CRPF camp in Lethpora area of Pulwama district of south Kashmir, killing five paramilitary personnel of the force and injuring three others.
CRPF officials said two militants holed up in a building block in the camp were killed in the subsequent operation to neutralise the ultras.
Two fidayeen carried out the attack at around 2:30 am by opening indiscriminate fire and lobbed grenades inside the camp situated in Lethpora area of the district, the officials said.
"All the attackers later entered inside the training centre of CRPF 185 battalion and engaged the troops in a gun battle", they said.
The 4-storey building consisted of 3 blocks and block-one was used for officers family accommodation, 2nd block as main office while block three as camp and it was targeted by militants.
Soon after the attack, reinforcement of army's special forces and SOG rushed to the spot and cordoned off the whole area amid fierce gunfight.
In the initial exchange of gunfight, three paramilitary CRPF were injured and one of them, Constable Sharief-ud-din Ganaie of Chadoora Budgam died at 92 Base hospital where all the injured were shifted.
The two injured constable, injured initially, Narender, who sustained bullet injuries on his calf muscle and Malve Samadhan (bullet injuries on his right shoulder) were admitted in the hospital and they are stated to be out of danger.
Later, four other personnel sustained bullet injuries and three of them Tufail Ahmed of Rajouri, Rajendra Nain of Churu Rajasthan and Pradeep Kr Panda succumbed to injuries while Kuldip Roy (inspector), a resident of Tikkar Khatrian HP, died of cardiac arrest.
Another injured personnel, Mala Ram, is recuperating in the 92-Base hospital, they said.
The two fidayeens of Jaish-e-Mohammad who were killed after storming a paramilitary CRPF camp were locals.
The slain militants have been identified as Manzoor Ahmad Baba son of Ali Mohammad Baba of Drubgam Pulwama and Fardeen Ahmad Khanday son of Ghulam Mohammad Khanday, a serving police constable, a resident of Nazeen Pora Tral. The slain duo, they said, had joined militant ranks only three months ago.
Director General of Police S P Vaid said security forces had an input about an impending militant strike in the Kashmir Valley for the past three days.
Terming the attack as "unfortunate", Vaid said as long as Pakistan keeps sending militants, security forces and people of Kashmir will continue to go through this.
"There was an input from the last two-three days.They (militants) were trying.They probably could not get a place and time earlier.So, they struck last night, Vaid told reporters here.
The CRPF camp also serves as training centre for troops inducted for counter-militancy operations in Kashmir Valley.
A Jammu and Kashmir Police team is also co-located with CRPF in this camp.
Jaish claims Lethpora attack, ridicules 'Op All Out'
Militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad on Sunday claimed responsibility for the the Fidayeen attack on Lethpora CRPF camp even as it ridiculed the "Operation All Out" started by Indian Army earlier this year.
A JeM statement issued to a local news agency GNS said the "blood of martyrs is yielding results".
"Talha Rasheed, Mohammad Bhai, commander Noor Mohammad Tantray and all other martyrs of Kashmir are not heirless. Such attacks will continue till the last Indian soldier leaves Kashmir," Jaish said.
Operation All Out an illusion, says Lashkar
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Mehmood Shah while paying tribute to slain Jaish-e-Mohammad militants saying New Delhi is on its knees and mourning over its defeat.
Mujahideen fulfilled their obligation by their martyrdom. The deaths of tyrants have brought relief to the oppressed. Such outcome will be India's fate until and unless they quit Kashmir, a Lashkar spokesperson Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi in a statement issued to GNS quoted Mehmood Shah as saying.
The Indian plan to suppress the indigenous freedom struggle of Kashmir by Operation All Out is nothing but an illusion, LeT chief said. Despite abundant resources, tactics and firepower used by Indian forces against freedom fighters, their plans have been rendered useless ever since they stepped in and claimed their illegal occupation.
This is evident to the claim that they are losing the war. The sole way for India to keep its forces numbers is to quit Kashmir, Shah said.
The Lashkar chief also warned that Mujahideen will avenge the martyred at all costs.
The outfit also thanked the people of Awantipora for their unmatched love, harmony and support to freedom fighters
Attack dastardly: Mehbooba
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has condemned the killing of CRPF personel, including an officer, in a midnight attack at a CRPF training centre at Lethpora in Pulwama district on Sunday.
Terming the act as dastardly, the Chief Minister said violence has taken a heavy toll of the society in the State in terms of death and destruction, tearing apart of the social fabric, inflicting massive economic, academic and social losses besides the irreparable loss of human lives.
The Chief Minister paid rich tributes to the jawans of the force killed in the attack. She also conveyed her sympathies to the bereaved families of the slain men.
Attack a reminder of how bad things are: Omar
National Conference (NC) today expressed grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in a militant attack on a CRPF camp in Pulwama district of south Kashmir and called it a reminder of how bad things were in the Valley.
"As the year draws to a close we get a terrible reminder of how bad things are in the valley. My condolences to the families of the CRPF personnel killed in the attack," NC working president Omar Abdullah wrote in a Twitter post.
Meanwhile, a party statement said NC president Farooq Abdullah and working president Omar have expressed profound grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the attack.
The statement said the NC leaders, while extending their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families of the slain CRPF personnel, expressed solidarity with them in their moment of inconsolable loss.
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