The Pulwama car bomb attack, averted by the security forces on Wednesday night, was a joint operation by Pakistan-based terror outfits Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen, said IG Police Kashmir, Vijay Kumar.

Addressing media in Srinagar on the attempted terror attack, Kumar said Jaish-e-Mohammed “played the main role” while Hizbul Mujahideen “assisted” them.

The officer said the Pulwama police had received information that a militant of Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group was going to carry out the operation.

Naming the driver of the vehicle as Adil, who escaped during encounter, the IG said he is a Hizbul terrorist who is in touch with JeM.

Adil intended to target vehicles of security forces, the police officer informed and added that they suspect that the vehicle was carrying around 40-45 kg of explosives.

Expert teams are being called from outside to conduct an investigation.

The security forces suspect that over 20 CRPF vehicles were the target of JeM terrorists attempting 2019 Pulwama-like attack.

In a major success for the Indian security forces, an attack involving a vehicle-borne IED blast was averted by the timely input and action of Pulwama Police, the CRPF and the Army, the Jammu and Kashmir Police informed on Thursday.

After being tipped of about a terrorist moving with an explosive-laden car, the Pulwama police took out various parties of police and security forces and covered all possible routes keeping themselves and security forces away from road at a safer location.

The suspected vehicle came and a few rounds of bullets were fired towards it, following which the driver abandoned the vehicle and escaped into darkness.

On inspection, it was found that the vehicle was carrying heavy explosives in a drum on the rear seat.

After evacuating people in nearby houses, the vehicle was exploded in-situ by bomb disposal squads as moving the vehicle would have involved serious threat to life, the police said.

The vehicle was reportedly using a number plate of a scooter registered somewhere in Kathua district.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) team immediately arrived the spot and is investigating the matter.

In a video released by Jammu and Kashmir Police, the car is seen turning into a huge ball of fire before enveloping the area in thick smoke.

A second video of the in-situ explosion was shared by Kashmir police officer Rayees Mohammad Bhat, which he described as the “ashfall” from the explosion.

On February 14, last year, India saw one of its worst terror attacks in Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Some vehicles in a convoy of 78 buses carrying around 2,500 security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway were rammed by an explosive-laden vehicle driven by a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad at Lethpora in Pulwama district, resulting in the death of over 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel and the attacker.

Meanwhile, the latest attempt to create unrest in the valley comes as intelligence agencies have informed that Hizbul Mujahideen is regrouping and plans to strike back within 10 days carrying out multiple terror strikes across the valley.

Hizbul commander and one of Kashmir’s most wanted terrorist Riyaz Naikoo was neutralised on May 6 after being trapped in the Beighpora area of Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district in an encounter that continued for over 12 hours.

The killing of Naikoo has been seen as a huge shock for the terror outfit as Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin had said that Indian security forces’ position in the Kashmir valley is strong, according to a video of him which surfaced recently.