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Militants storm building housing PIB office in Srinagar

March 09, 2004 19:36 IST
Last Updated: March 09, 2004 23:17 IST

Two Lashkar-e-Tayiba militants on Tuesday evening stormed a building housing the central government's Press Information Bureau (PIB) and the Jammu and Kashmir Government's Information Office setting off an encounter in which one of the terrorists was shot dead.

Head Constable Mohan Singh of the Special Services Board (SSB), which guards the PIB, told PTI that the militants, in army fatigues, appeared at the building located on the busy Residency Road at 1825 IST when the change of guard was taking place. "They detonated a grenade and fired indiscriminately before hurling another grenade to force their way into the building," he said.

Security forces then cordoned off the area, which houses offices of several media organisations and houses of journalist, and surrounded the three-storey building. Some SSB personnel, who had been trapped inside the building, were safely evacuated.

An operation was launched to flush out the militants triggering a heavy exchange of fire. Later, police and para-military forces lobbed smoke shells to flush out the two terrorists who responded with indiscriminate gunfire using ammunition belonging to the SSB men.

The militants, said Inspector General K Rajendra Kumar (Kashmir Range), set the building on fire. The flames engulfed some adjacent buildings located at the busy Residency Road.

After trading gunfire for about three-and-half hours, both the terrorists made an attempt to escape during which one of them was shot dead while the other rushed back into the building, he said.

The dead militant had grenades strapped across his body, which went off when he was hit by bullets.

Gunfire was heard inside the building for some more time before a complete lull. Efforts were on to put out the blaze.

The two militants, according to intercepts of wireless conversations, were identified as Abu Zayed and Faisal.

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