Srinagar has been virtually turned into a fortress; Security forces ready to face even suicide squads

New Delhi: Intercepts of telecommunication messages between militants in Jammu and Kashmir and their mentors in Pakistan suggest that cadres of the Al-Qaeda were present in the Kashmir Valley. Senior security officials engaged in gathering technical intelligence in the Valley said the intercepts were of communication between Lashker-e-Taiba cadres.

The sources said that while some of them were hiding in the higher reaches of Bandipore in north Kashmir along with LeT "chief commander" Bilal alias Salahuddin, a few more were believed to be holed up in the forests of Budhal in Qazigund along the Jammu-Srinagar highway. Both these locations are strategically placed as the terrorists could flee to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir quickly in the event of any military offensive, they said. -- PTI

Shujaat Bukhari reports from Srinagar:

With one day left for Independence Day, the security set-up is making elaborate arrangements to thwart any possible attempt by militants to disrupt the celebrations. For the 16th consecutive year, Srinagar has virtually been turned into fortress on the eve of Independence Day with security men combing each and every part of the city.

Fresh spate of violence in the past few weeks has further increased the threat of suicide attacks by militants on August 15. The focus of the security apparatus has shifted to Bakhshi Stadium where Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad will take the salute and unfurl the Tricolour for the first time after taking over the leadership of govt.

A multi-tier security is in place around the stadium and all roads leading to it have been sealed. Besides Jammu and Kashmir Police, thick columns of CRPF are on the job. "We have surely increased the number of personnel though the threat is of general nature as it has been in the past," said A.P. Maheshwari, Inspector-General of CRPF for Kashmir province.

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