Delhi, Feb 14: At least 18 Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF) jawans were killed and many others injured in a blast in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, triggered by militants to target two vehicles carrying them. The blast ripped through one of the buses the jawans were travelling in.
A Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the bus they were travelling in, officials were quoted as saying. The vehicle belonged to 54 battalion of the CRPF. The IED blast reduced the bus to a mangled heap and body parts could be seen strewn around the area.
'There were 70 vehicles in the convoy and one of them came under attack. The convoy was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar,' said the CRPF (Operations) IG , Mr. Zulfiqar Hassan, adding that the Jammu and Kashmir police have taken over the investigation.
Militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the blast and said it was a fidayeen attack carried out by a local youth. Police identified the terrorist who drove the explosive-laden vehicle as Adil Ahmad from Kakapora in Pulwama. He joined the Jaish-Mohammed in 2018.
The incident took place at Lethpora, about 30 km from Srinagar on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. Jammu and Kashmir police spokesperson has confirmed that it was an improvised explosive device (IED) blast. The explosion was followed by gunshots aimed at the security forces in Pulwama district. The IED was placed in a vehicle, which was parked on the national highway, guarded by the CRPF, Jammu and Kashmir police and the army. The security forces have begun a search operation.
The former Chief Minister and National Conference leader, Omar Abdullah, called the attack a 'reminiscent' of pre-2004 days in the Valley. 'Jaish has claimed the blast as a suicide (fidaeen) attack reminiscent of the dark days of militancy pre-2004-05,' Abdullah wrote on Twitter adding, 'I condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms. My prayers for the injured and condolences to the families of the bereaved.'
The PDP chief and former Chief Minister, Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, also condemned the attack and said, 'No words are enough to condemn the gruesome terror attack. How many more lives will be snuffed out before this madness ends?'
At least eight CRPF personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday when a blast ripped through the bus they were travelling in, officials said. The Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for the incident, they said. The casualties are likely to go up. Several people were injured in the IED blast, which reduced the bus to a mangled heap of iron.
The vehicle was blown up on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Awantipora area of the district, a police official said.