Fleeing gunmen target hotel staff; one killed, 2 injured

Fleeing gunmen target hotel staff; one killed, 2 injured

19 October 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants this evening attacked an army convoy on Srinagar Bypass near Srinagar Railway Station and while fleeing through a near by hotel fired at their staff, killing one of them and injuring two others. A massive operation has been launched to nab the militants responsible for the attack. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir, S M Sahai, said here that the initial reports suggested that around 3-4 militants tried to launch an attack on the highway. 'After the attack they tried to force their entry into the hotel which they couldn't and fired indiscriminately killing a hotel employee and injuring two others,' he added. The IGP said that the area has been cordoned off and a hunt to track down the militants has been launched. 'Police have got some leads about the presence of militants in the area and are on their trail', he added. Police said that the militants fled towards nearby woods and security forces launched a massive manhunt in surrounding areas to nab the militants responsible for the attack. Security forces were frisking the vehicles and carrying out searches in several Budgam district villages towards which the militants fled. A Lashkar-e-Toiba spokesman Abdullah Gaznavi claimed attack on the Army convoy on Srinagar Bypass. Gaznavi told Excelsior that four Fidayeen took part in the attack in which two army vehicles were damaged. He said that the all the Fidayeen have reported back to their hideouts. Security agencies suggested that 3-4 militants came in a car and targeted an army convoy outside Silver Star hotel on Srinagar bypass near Srinagar Railway Station at around 420 p.m. 'There was minor damage to one of the Army vehicles and it seems that they failed to carry out the attack as was planned by them', the security agencies said. 'It was an Army truck that was targeted by the militants', they said, adding that they feel their target might have been the Army bus which was behind the truck and it could have led to casualties. The militants fled towards the hotel after the attack and forced their way into the lobby. One of the owners of the hotel, Waseem Abbas, said the militants fired just outside the main gate of the hotel and then entered the ground floor of the hotel. 'Few shots were fired inside the premises. We are not sure where our staffer was killed but it seems he was taken hostage and later shot dead behind the hotel,' said Abbas. Three hotel employees were injured in the militant firing and one of them, Bell boy Farooq Ahmad, of Tral area of South Kashmir later succumbed to injuries. The condition of the other two is stated to be stable. An employee of the hotel said that he heard around 20 to 25 gun shots before the militants fled from the spot. 'I was offering prayers as my shift was over and was ready to leave when I heard bullet shots. I ran out and saw a few of our colleagues injured,' he added. Silver Star is a four star, often frequented by the high profile visitors. Security agencies ruled out that the hotel was the militant target and feel that militants felt trapped as the road ends in the hotel premises and fired in panic. This is after May that militants carried out an attack in Srinagar. The previous militant attack was targeted at CRPF at Rainawari area of Srinagar in which 7 CRPF personnel were injured.