LeT militants say Indian army killed civilian in Kashmir attack

LeT militants say Indian army killed civilian in Kashmir attack
# 21 October 2012 02:18 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Pakistan-based militants have claimed responsibility for an attack on the outskirts of Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir but say the civilian killed in the incident was fatally shot by Indian troops, APA reports quoting Press TV.

The Urdu language newspaper Kashmir Uzma reported on Saturday that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) said four of its fighters lobbed grenades at and opened fire on an Indian army convoy as it passed through the highway where the Silver Star Hotel is located on Friday.

The LeT added that the Indian troops then returned fire, killing the hotel staff member.

"Four of our fidayeen (those who sacrifice) attacked the army convoy (and)… one of the army vehicles was badly damaged," the daily quoted LeT spokesman Abdullah Gaznavi as saying.

On October 19, LeT militants attempted to ambush an Indian army convoy near the Silver Star Hotel, but were outgunned by security forces and then tried to enter the hotel.

A shootout between soldiers and militants broke out and a bellboy of the hotel was killed.

The Indian army claims that the civilian was killed by the militants in the clash.

“During the exchange of fire, the gunmen rushed towards the hotel. They were being chased. In the firing at a hotel, an employee was killed and two others injured,” an official account said.

Mostly popular with domestic tourists, the Silver Star is a large mid-range hotel.

The army acknowledged that one of its vehicles had come under fire without any casualties.

An army officer said, “We seemed to be the target, but due to some civilian movement, the attack was foiled.”

“The vehicles in the convoy that were in front heard the firing and the vehicles that were in the back were asked to stop, which is our standard drill. As the militants realized that their attempt had failed, they fired… killing a civilian," he added.

Kashmir lies at the heart of more than 60 years of hostility between India and Pakistan. Both countries claim the region in full but each only has control over a section of the territory.

Over the past two decades, the conflict in Kashmir has left over 47,000 people dead by the official count, although other sources say the death toll could be as high as 90,000.