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Militants attack army convoy in J&K; One dead, 16 hurt

By Mukhtar Ahmed in Srinagar
Last updated on: September 02, 2003 15:55 IST
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One person was killed and 16 others, including six army personnel, injured when militants detonated a powerful Improvised Explosive Device at Chirsoo-Awantipora along Srinagar-Jammu National Highway on Tuesday.

Ranjit Singh, an army driver, was killed in the blast, which took place two days after security forces killed Ghazi Baba, the Jaish-e-Mohammad operational commander in Jammu and Kashmir.

Six army personnel and ten civilians were injured in the gunfire between security forces and the militants following the blast, the sources said.

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The vehicle carrying the army personnel and the civilians were also damaged in the incident, they said.

The blast took place minutes after traffic on the national highway was resumed around midday after militants blew up a culvert on the road at Lawlordra-Qazigund, nearly 80 km from Srinagar, in the wee hours of Tuesday.

The militants also opened fire on the convoy, engaging them in a gunfight, a defence spokesman said.

He said the injured, six army personnel and four civilians, were airlifted to army base hospital in Srinagar.

Traffic was suspended on the only road link between Kashmir valley and rest of the country following the blast at Qazigund, which came less than 24 hours after a soldier of the bomb disposal squad was killed and two others injured, while trying to defuse an explosive planted by militants at nearby lower Munda.

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Mukhtar Ahmed in Srinagar