By ZeroHour News
Srinagar, June 24 Eight soldiers were killed and 13 others injured Monday when two separatist guerrillas attacked an army convoy here with automatic weapons and grenades, police said. The attackers later engaged in a gunfight with security forces, leaving a CRPF officer and a policeman injured, before fleeing the area.
Coming a day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi arrive on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the attack occurred as the army convoy passed through the Hyderpora area on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway, a senior police officer told IANS.
“Militants opened indiscriminate firing from automatic weapons at the army convoy passing through Hyderpora area on the bye-pass,” the police officer said.
“They also hurled a grenade which exploded inside an army vehicle resulting in the death of five army men and injuries to eight others,” the officer said, adding three of the injured troops succumbed to critical injuries in the hospital, taking the toll to eight.
“The number of injured in the militant attack has also risen to 13,” the officer said.
According to intelligence sources here, the two ‘pheran’ (Kashmiri overgarment) wearing militants had snatched the motorcycle of a student in Paraypora area close to the ambush site earlier Monday.
“These militants attacked the army convoy on Hyderpora bye-pass as the convoy reached there from Baramulla town. They fired indiscriminately at one of the vehicles in the convoy. A grenade was also hurled which exploded inside the vehicle causing maximum damage.
“After this, the two armed militants sneaked into the Barzalla area of the city where they were challenged by a posse of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and local policemen. The two militants fired at the security men injuring one sub-inspector of the CRPF and a local policeman. A civilian woman was also injured in the militant’s firing,” the source said.
“After this, the two militants as per eye-witnesses abandoned the motorcycle and fled in a black Santro car which was waiting for them in the area.”
A manhunt has been started in the city to locate the two guerrillas, said a police officer, adding that exit routes have been sealed to ensure that the guerrillas do not escape into the countryside.
“It is just a matter of time before we nail them down. They have left behind a trail which will definitely help us trace them,” the officer said.
This is the second guerrilla strike in the Kashmir Valley during the past three days.
On Saturday, guerrillas killed two local policemen in a hit and run attack in the busy Hari Singh High Street market of Srinagar.
The Hizbul Mujahideen guerrilla group owned responsibility for Saturday’s attack.
Both the attacks have come at a time when the security forces have sounded a high alert across the state in view of the prime minister’s visit.
Separatist leaders, including the hardliner Syed Ali Geelani and the moderate Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have given a protest shutdown call Tuesday to coincide with the visit.
Pro-freedom Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik has also appealed to people to observe a protest shutdown Tuesday.
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