The CRPF camp is heavily fortified and is only 300 metres from the battalion headquarters. File Photo: AFP
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SRINAGAR: The CRPF on Monday foiled a pre-dawn suicide attack on a north Kashmir camp, killing all the four militants without any of its men suffering any injuries.
Officers said a windstorm had snapped power supply to the camp midway during the encounter, but the troops fired "para-illuminating bombs" (flares) to illuminate the area and shoot the remaining attackers.
Rajesh Yadav, the CRPF spokesperson, said the militants were heavily armed and carried inflammable material, suggesting they had prepared for a long gunfight and intended to set the barracks on fire.
The attack on the complex in Sumbal township, housing two companies of the 45 Battalion, came around 3.30 am, coinciding with the pre-dawn mealtime of Sehri during Ramazan.
During searches after the gunfight, the security forces found food wrappers in an empty house in an orchard just opposite the camp, indicating the militants had been in the house and had eaten just before launching their raid.
"They lobbed grenades towards our installations and fired indiscriminately as they tried to storm the camp but our alert sentry foiled their bid. All the four terrorists were killed in the gunfight, which lasted an hour and a half," Yadav told The Telegraph.
The CRPF camp is heavily fortified and is only 300 metres from the battalion headquarters. The militants seem to have divided themselves into two groups of two each, one attacking and the other providing covering fire.
"The alert sentry on the roadside (facing the orchard) noticed some suspicious movement and alerted the camp. Meanwhile, the militants tried to take advantage of the dark and force their way in, firing and lobbing grenades," an officer said.
"Our men, who had the advantage of being inside the bunker, retaliated with heavy fire, killing two militants."
By then, CRPF men from the battalion headquarters and a police team were rushing towards the camp.
The power outage was a setback but the troops lit flares to spot the other two militants, the battalion's commanding officer, Iqbal Ahmad, said. The militants charged towards the Quick Reaction Team and the police, who shot them.
Officers said that all the four militants were killed outside the fence. "Nobody (from the security forces) was even injured," Yadav said. "All the four seem to be Pakistanis, possibly from the Lashkar-e-Toiba."
Officers said the militants were carrying four AK-47 rifles, 12 magazines, one under-barrel grenade launcher, seven under-barrel launcher grenades, nine hand grenades, cutters and dates among other stuff.
A violent mob later gathered near the encounter site and pelted the forces with stones. Local people observed a shutdown to protest the militants' killing.