Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, one of the rebel groups active in the area claimed responsibility for the attack by faxing a statement to the local offices of a news agency. ``The attack is in response to India's propaganda that the armed struggle has weakened in Kashmir,'' the statement said.[video removed because it goes into autoplay feature; it can be found here]
As it grew dark, the security forces put up floodlights around the Punjab Hotel building where the militants are holed up. The area has been marked off with concertina wires to ensure the guerrillas do not escape under the cover of darkness.
"We are cautious that no collateral damage takes place," a police officer said.
Police were not sure of any civilian trapped in the hotel building which hindered the prospect of launching the final assault. The militants were using the building as a fortified bunker and firing intermittently at the surrounding security forces.
"The hotel building will have to be stormed by commandoes if the militants refuse to surrender," said a paramilitary officer.
The terrorist group claims three of its minions were involved in the attacks.
Security appeared to be somewhat better than the devastating Mumbai attacks, but this incident isn't over yet as the terrorists remain holed up in what has been reported to be a hotel. The terrorists have fired on security forces and lobbed grenades from their position.
Kashmir has been a flashpoint for conflict between India and Pakistan across the Line of Control, and 47,000 have died in the insurgency since 1989. The attack in Sringagar occurred just days after Pakistani President Zardari visited the Pakistani side of the border and a suicide bombing that killed three Pakistani soldiers near the Line of Control.