A hotel employee killed, two others injured

Militants on Friday opened fire on an Army convoy and at a prominent hotel on the outskirts of Srinagar, killing a bellboy and injuring two others in the first terror attack in this city since May when Kashmir Valley witnessed a surge in tourism.

The ultras numbering between three and five opened indiscriminate firing on an Army convoy near the four-storey Silver Star hotel near Lasjan on Parimpora-Panthachowk bypass road at around 4.20 pm, police said. No militant group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

A bell boy of the hotel, identified as Farooq Ahmad, and two other persons were injured in the firing by the militants, police said.

A police spokesman said initial investigations into the firing incident have shown that the militants had planned an attack on the highway which was not successful.

“They tried to enter a nearby hotel which they could not and fired indiscriminately, killing one employee of the hotel and injuring two others,” the spokesman added.

Waseem Abbas, one of the owners of the hotel, said the militants first opened firing just outside the main gate of the hotel and then entered the grounds of the hotel.

“Few shots were fired inside the premises. We are not sure where our staffer was killed but it seems he was taken hostage and later shot dead behind the hotel,” Mr. Abbas said

S.M. Sahai, IG (Kashmir), said it was not clear if the hotel was the target of the militants.

Mr. Sahai said police was working on leads in the hunt to nab the militants.

An army vehicle was damaged in the militant attack but none of the security force personnel were harmed, police said.

Security forces have cordoned off the area and launched an operation to track down the militants.