SRINAGAR: Amid simmering tensions, a powerful explosion caused by a grenade that was lobbed by suspected militants at security forces in south Kashmir today afternoon left 16 persons, including dozen civilians, wounded.

Police officials and witnesses said 16 persons, including four policemen were injured when suspected militants lobbed a grenade at Batapora area of south Kashmir’s restive Shopian district.

Sources said the grenade exploded along the roadside amid the civilian population inflicting injuries to several civilians and some policemen who were on a routine duty in the area.

“People were normally moving around in the area when we heard a loud explosion which blew up plumes of dust in the air. The shopkeepers downed their shutters as cries of injured persons filled the air,” witnesses said.

“Around 12 civilians are reportedly injured in this explosion. A young girl has received critical injuries in this explosion while four policemen also sustained injuries in this incident,” a J&K Police spokesperson said, adding the injured have been shifted to nearby hospital for medical treatment.

No militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the grenade attack which have witnessed a spurt in this month with more than dozen such attacks reported from different parts of Kashmir Valley since the Centre’s “Ramazan ceasefire’ came into effect.

While a majority of grenade attacks on security forces have been reported from the restive south Kashmir areas, suspected militants staged similar attacks in the capital Srinagar city also last week, including one in Hari Singh Sigh Street where a grenade was lobbed on a security installation using a grenade launcher.

However, there was no report of loss of life or injury in the attack. “It looks a change in strategy by militants but our forces are well-equipped to deal with any eventuality,” a senior police officer said.

The grenade attack in Srinagar, the first of its kind in a decade, had sent shockwaves in the security establishment, prompting a review of the security measures taken by the forces to prevent such attacks in future.