Police sources said that two motorcycle-borne assailants opened fire from a point-blank range at two "unarmed" policemen in the old Srinagar city.

The policemen, the sources said, were regulating traffic at a busy crossing near the crowded Zadibal area, some 10 km from the city centre Lal Chowk. The crossing leads to the only multispecialty hospital, SKIMS, of Srinagar and is usually crowded throughout the day.

Assistant sub-inspector Nazir Ahmed and Head Constable Bashir Ahmed were shot in their heads. They were taken to the hospital where they were declared brought dead, the sources said.

Barely an hour later, militants struck again and shot dead a policeman in the upscale Tengpora area, some five km from the city centre.The attackers ran away with the dead cop's service rifle, a police officer said. The policeman, who was guarding an unnamed politician, received severe gunshot wounds and was taken to a hospital where he succumbed, the officer said.

The Hizbul Mujahideen that has terror bases in Pakistan-administered Kashmir claimed responsibility for the twin attacks that comes nearly three years after militants killed two policemen on June 22, 2013, at the crowded Hari Singh High Street market - the city's main business hub near Lal Chowk.Hizbul Mujahideen spokesperson Burhanuddin called a local news agency and said the outfit had carried out the attacks on Monday.

The attacks in Srinagar city are the first major strikes carried out by militants after the Mehbooba Mufti-led Peoples Democratic Party and Bharatiya Janata Party formed a coalition government in the state last month.

Security officials said they had intelligence inputs that militants were planning to strike in Srinagar in the wake of increasing incursion attempts from across the border during summer months in the Kashmir Valley ."(The) army, police, and other agencies are fully prepared. We won't let these terrorists succeed," Satish Dua, GOC 15 Corps, told the media here. Dua described the deaths of policemen as "unfortunate" and sought "to assure that the army, police, and CRPF are ready to face such threats".


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