Banned terror group claims Kashmir hotel attack: report

Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has claimed responsibility for an attack outside a popular hotel in Indian Kashmir that killed a bellboy, media reports said Saturday.

The banned outfit said four of its attackers "lobbed grenades and opened fire" at an Indian army convoy as it passed through the highway where the Silver Star hotel is located, the Urdu language Kashmir Uzma newspaper said.

"Four of our fidayeen (suicide attackers) attacked the army convoy in which one of the army vehicles was badly damaged," the daily quoted LeT spokesman Abdullah Gaznavi as saying over the telephone.

The attackers "reached their hideouts safely", Gaznavi added.

Heavily-armed gunmen stormed the Silver Star hotel on Friday after an abortive attempt to attack the army convoy, killing a bellboy and injuring two others, the Indian police said.

Gaznavi, however, blamed "retaliatory firing" by the Indian armed forces for the death of the hotel staff member.

The attack, the first in Srinagar since May, occurred on a day when several senior officials from the army, police, intelligence agencies and government met to review the security situation in the state.

In the May attack, two motorcyclists fired on a group of army officers, injuring seven.

The LeT has been blamed by India for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. It has denied any role in the attacks.

Separatist violence that has wrecked the tourism industry in the Muslim-majority region has been at its lowest ebb since the insurgency began in 1989.

Source: AFP

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