J&K: 3 arrested in Amarnath pilgrim attack case

J&K: 3 arrested in Amarnath pilgrim attack case

The fighting began after government forces raided a cluster of homes on a tip that suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants were hiding in India-held Kashmir's northwestern Sopore area, said police Inspector-General Muneer Ahmed Khan.

Police said that the investigation had concluded that LT and Kashmiri accomplices were behind the July 10 attack in which terrorists opened fire on a bus carrying Hindus on the annual Amarnath pilgrimage.

The three arrested - Bilal Ahmed Reshi, Aizaj Wagey and Zahoor Ahmed - had recced and help chosen Botengo near Khanbal as the spot of attack, Khan added.

The police officer claimed the group initially planned the attack on July 9.

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Spontaneous protests broke out on Saturday in north Kashmir areas after three local LeT militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces in Sopore town, with three persons injured in firing during clashes. "Accused persons have been produced before a court and they are now under police remand", he said. He said the trio had also provided shelter to the four militants in Khudwani and Sriguffwara in south Kashmir.

The third LeT slain militant has been identified as Danish Ahmad Dar s/o Ghulam Hassan Dar of Batpora Sopore, police said. He said the militants were planning to attack either CRPF or yatra buses.

But it had to retreat after unsuccessfully waiting at Botengoo in Anantnag as there was no movement of any CRPF or pilgrims' vehicle "in isolation" in the area that evening. "We are quite near to them, hopefully, will be neutralizing militants soon...it can be today, tomorrow", IGP Kashmir Munir Khan said. These four had the codewords for the attack - "Bilal for CRPF vehicle" and "Shaukat" for Yatri Vehicle, as said IGP. A similar incident took place at Harnag in Anantnag district but there were no injuries there, the official said. The attack evoked widespread condemnation across the Valley and outside.

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