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CRPF foils J&K attack, gunfight on

Army personnel take positions during an encounter with the militants, who were sheltering in a building near a CRPF camp at Karan Nagar in Srinagar on Monday. PTI Picture

Srinagar: Alert CRPF personnel on Monday prevented militants from carrying out a second suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir in three days, forcing them to beat a retreat and take shelter in an under-construction building nearby in Srinagar's business hub.

A CRPF jawan has lost his life and a policeman was injured in the gun battle with the besieged militants.

While militants from the Jaish-e-Mohammad carried out a fidayeen (suicide) attack on an army camp in Jammu on Saturday, the group from the Lashkar-e-Toiba chose to strike at a CRPF camp 300km away in Srinagar's posh Karan Nagar locality, barely 2km from the city centre.

Lashkar chief Mehmood Shah claimed the "freedom fighters" had seized control of Karan Nagar, the city's premier business hub, but police said the militants were trapped in a building.

The police said the sentry deployed at the observation post of the 23rd battalion of the CRPF saw two militants armed with AK-47 riffles and backpacks approaching the camp around 4.30am.

The sentry opened fire, forcing the militants to flee. The forces sounded an alert and soon reinforcements rushed in, throwing a cordon around a large area.

A police officer said they established contact with the militants five hours later, when the forces began to search a building.

The militants opened fire, killing constable Mujahid Khan of the CRPFs 49th battalion.

CRPF inspector-general Ravideep Sahi said the militants were trapped in the building and a gunfight was on.

Loud sound of gunfire and explosions rattled the area through the day. The gunfight is taking place on a day the Valley received the season's first snowfall, both developments forcing many Srinagar residents to stay indoors.

The police later said a cop was injured. "Police jawan injured. He is stable and is being treated," tweeted Jammu and Kashmir police.

State police chief S.P. Vaid hailed the CRPF. "I congratulate alert CRPF sentry for averting suicidal attack in Karan Nagar Srinagar. Fortunately two terrorists are in cordon and exchange of fire going on," he tweeted.

The police said the gunfight might continue for some time as the militants were hiding in a sturdy under-construction building.

The issue rocked the Assembly, where members asked the government to issue a statement.

Suspected militants shot dead a person inside a car at Sandipora village in the central Kashmir district of Budgam on Monday.

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