In all 31 Central Reserve Police Force men were killed and several injured as militants attacked a convoy at Lethpora along the Srinagar-Jammu highway on Thursday.
As per the CRPF, an IED blast occurred at around 3.30 pm upon a CRPF convoy which was on its way to Srinagar from Jammu. Two CRPF vehicles came under attack. 'The vehicles which came under attack were part of a convoy from Jammu to Srinagar. There were also reports of firing upon the vehicles,' a CRPF officer said.
'The fatalities could rise and there were several CRPF men inside the bus which was targeted by the militants.' The militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack, saying a local fidayeen rammed his vehicle into a CRPF convoy.
'They identified the local who carried out the fidayeen attack as Aadil Ahmad alias Waqas, commando of Gundi Bagh, Pulwama,' a local news agency, said quoting a Jaish spokesman.
More than 2,500 CRPF personnel, many of them returning from leave, were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when they were ambushed.The number of personnel travelling back to the Valley was high as there was no movement on the highway for the last two to three days because of bad weather, they said.
A road opening party was deployed and the convoy had armoured counter-terror vehicles, officials said. Forensic and bomb analysis teams are on the spot.The bus that was the focus of the attack belongs to the 54th battalion of the force and had 44 personnel on board, officials said.
In the attack on the Uri military base in September 2016, JeM militants killed 18 Army jawans and injured dozens of others. Stating that sacrifices of brave security personnel shall not go in vain, the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, said he has spoken to the Home Minister, Mr. Rajnath Singh, and other top officials regarding the situation in the wake of the attack.
'The attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama is despicable. I strongly condemn this dastardly attack. The sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain. The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of the brave martyrs. May the injured recover quickly', Mr. Mdi tweeted.