5 killed, 18 injured in Kashmir blasts

A series of grenade attacks by suspected separatist rebels shook Kashmir's capital on Friday, killing five people and injuring at least 18 others, police said.

All of those killed were civilians, three women and two men who died of their injuries at the main hospital in Srinagar, said Mushtaq Ahmad, a police officer at the hospital.

Security forces fanned out across the city after the blasts, stopping cars and frisking people as residents hurried home.

The blasts began when a grenade was hurled at an Indian paramilitary truck passing through one of the main thoroughfares in Srinagar, injuring two soldiers.

Minutes later, a grenade attack on Hari Singh High Street, a busy road in Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state, killed a young Nepalese woman and a young Kashmiri man and injured six other people, said Superintendent of Police Anand Jain.

Two policemen were injured in a fourth grenade explosion at the city's main bus station that set a police jeep on fire, Jain said. Another occurred in a neighborhood near the bus station.

The fifth attack occurred at Dal Gate, a promenade by the Dal Lake frequented by tourists and lined by hotels and restaurants. Three people were killed and eight injured.

The blasts occurred hours before the Friday Muslim prayers that draw thousands of people. Prayer ceremonies, however, continued unhindered.

The attacks happened over about one hour, and in a radius of about two miles (three kilometers) of the city center.

A local news agency, Current News Service reported that four Islamic rebel groups separately claimed responsibility for the attacks. The groups include Jamiat-ul-Mujahedeen, Al-Mansurain, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Islamic Front, reports the AP.

I.L.