TERRORISTS' NEW ASSAULT ON TEMPLE LEAVES 11 DEAD
by Aman Singh
American Reporter India Correspondent
New Delhi, India
NEW DELHI, Nov. 24, 2002 (7:55 am EST) -- Repeating a recent assault, militants attacked the famous Raghunath shrine in Jammu a second time Sunday and left 11 dead and many wounded in their wake.
Striking at 6:30 pm (IST), a two-man squad believed to belong to the militant Islamic Fidayeen movement began throwing grenades at the temple from behind bushes nearby and then entered the crowded complex, taking advantage of the crowds of innocent worshippers there to conceal themselves even as they attacked. They were locked in a gunbattle with police for hours, and the drama only ended late Monday morning when police shot dead the last of the pair in a house near the temple where he had been hiding.
Among the dead were two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers. The terrorists and the army exchanged gunfire from 7:00 p.m. Sunday far into the night, suggesting the militants came prepared with ample ammunition. They usually answered police and army fire with quick blasts of their own.
This was the second attack on the Raqghunath temple this year; militants also struck the temple in March. It was the third attack on a religious shrine this year.
Terrorists attacked the Akshardham temple in Gujarat only two months ago, leaving 75 dead and many more injured. Riots have followed those attacks, in which many Muslims were killed and injured, and many more left homeless.
Omar Abdullah, the party's President and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, who is Farooq Abdullah's son, on a news channel here said the attack was not to tied recent elections in which his party was outvoted in the state.
"Terrorists obviously know our weakest spot, being communal outrage, what with Godhra, Akshardham and now this," Abdullah said, implying that the religious militants know how to hit where it hurts the most.
Much of the nation watched the shooting live on television.