Two killed in Kashmir police station attack

SRINAGAR: A policeman and a civilian were killed and eight people were injured Friday when suspected militants launched a grenade and gun attack on a police station in Indian-administered Kashmir, police said.

The assault in Sopore town, about 50 kilometres north of Srinagar, sent people running for cover. It was the latest incident in a sudden upsurge in violence in the volatile region.

“After the attack on the police station, security forces have sealed off the area and launched a search out operation,” Abdul Waheed, a senior police officer in the town, told AFP.

He said the injured comprised four policemen and three civilians, including Latief Mirchal, a pro-India politician who had unsuccessfully contested 2008 state elections.

Waheed said police returned fire on the militants and the exchange continued for nearly 30 minutes. The militants are believed to have fled after the assault.

Kashmir had been relatively stable in recent months but Indian police have reported a spike in violence over the past 10 days.

On Thursday last week, Indian commandos stormed a hotel in Srinagar and killed two gunmen who had been holed up in the guesthouse for nearly 24 hours.

A civilian and a policeman were also killed during the siege.

Suspected militants have also killed three former accomplices during the last week, police said.

The latest attack came as Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was engaged in a security review meeting in Srinagar with top police and intelligence officers, an official spokesman said.

Abdullah flew into Srinagar Friday morning from Jammu.

The insurgency erupted in 1989 against Indian rule of the Muslim-majority region and has claimed more than 47,000 lives, according to an official count.

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