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44 CRPF jawans killed, nearly 45 injured in suicide attack in J-K’s Pulwama; JeM claims responsibility

Army and CRPF jawans have cordoned off the area and launched search operations; the attack on security personnel is the deadliest since the Uri incident of September 2016

SNS | New Delhi |

At least 44 CRPF jawans were killed and nearly 45 seriously injured in a suicide attack when an explosive-laden car rammed into a bus they were travelling in. The terror strike took place near Letapora of Pulwama in South Kashmir.

The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the suicide attack and released a video clip of the suicide bomber, a ‘commander’ identified as Adil Ahmad Dar. In a text message to Kashmiri news agency GNS, it claimed the video was shot before the young man carried out the strike.

CRPF DG RR Bhatnagar said the convoy, carrying the soldiers, was travelling from Jammu to Srinagar when the attack occurred. Terrorists continued to fire at the convoy even after the bus was completely charred. The convoy comprised 70 vehicles carrying nearly 2500 soldiers. Two CRPF vehicles were damaged in the attack.

The suicide attack took place on a heavily guarded highway.

The terrorists succeeded in executing the attack despite the fact that the highway, particularly in South Kashmir, is properly sanitised every time there is a movement of the convoys of security forces. The Road Opening Parties (ROPs) also conduct thorough checking of the road for possible IEDs.

J-K Police chief Dilbag Singh confirmed that it was a suicide attack in which an explosive-laden car was rammed into the CRPF bus.

The bus was completely destroyed and mutilated bodies of the jawans lay scattered on the road that also bore blood stains.

At least 13 jawans were killed on the spot and others succumbed to injuries in hospital.

The injured jawans have been rushed to the 92 Base hospital of the Military and CRPF hospital.

Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the gruesome attack.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah also condemned the attack and extended his condolences to the families of the bereaved.

Army and CRPF jawans have cordoned off the area and launched search operations in the nearby residential locality.

The convoy was held up in Jammu for the past six days due to the closure of the Jammu-Srinagar highway because of snow and landslides and proceeded to Srinagar this morning only after the highway was opened for one way traffic.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is likely to be assigned the investigation of the attack.

This is the worst terror attack on security personnel since the Uri incident in September 2016.

Eighteen soldiers were killed and several others injured when heavily-armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the Indian Army in North Kashmir’s Uri town.