Published: Fri, February 15, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

CRPF personnel killed, 15 injured as blast rips through bus in Awantipora

CRPF personnel killed, 15 injured as blast rips through bus in Awantipora

Almost 43 CRPF personnel were martyred and several injured in a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy which occurred on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in south Kashmir's Pulwama district around 3: 20 pm on Thursday.

The Greater Kashmir newspaper reported that militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police identified the suicide bomber as Adil Ahmed, who officials said joined the Jaish in 2018. When they reached near the Lethpora area of Awantipora, Mr. Dar-led vehicle, reportedly a Scorpio auto, carrying 350 kg of explosives rammed a CRPF vehicle which eventually claimed lives of at least 44 CRPF personnel.

The bus into which the SUV was rammed had around 39 jawans.

"In Latoomode, Awantipora, an IED blast occurred on a bus of the 54 batallion of the CRPF". This was confirmed by other officials later. "We are evacuating the injured from the site and don't have their number at the moment".

"The bodies are dismembered and mutilated making it hard for doctors to give the exact number of casualties", a senior security establishment official told PTI in Delhi.

"Terrorists in future will rely on indirect attacks or suicide bombers where damage is maximum and casualties among terrorists are minimum".

The bus was part of a 78-vehicle convoy that was travelling on the the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama district. "Some shots were also fired at the convoy", CRPF DG R R Bhatnagar told PTI.

Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba is said to be rushing to Srinagar for a high-level security meeting on Friday, reported IANS. The Indian government condemns in the strongest possible terms the cowardly terrorist attack on India's courageous security forces in Pulwama, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

In a statement carried by GNS news agency, a spokesman for the Jaish-e-Mohammad group said dozens of security force vehicles were destroyed in the attack. He said police are investigating the explosive and how it got into the classroom.

Islamabad said it rejected the suggestion it was linked to the attack. The convoy carried 2,547 CRPF personnel.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said he was deeply disturbed by the cowardly attack on the convoy in which so many CRPF men were killed. "Just pieces of mangled steel remain of the vehicle", he said. Former chief minister of J&K Omar Abdullah condemned the attack in a post that read, "Terrible news coming from the valley". On October 1, 2001, three terrorists had rammed a Tata Sumo loaded with explosives into the main gate of the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislative Assembly complex in Srinagar - killing 38 people. The target was the local parliament building in Srinagar. After joining the insurgency, three months later, his house was one of the many residential houses allegedly burnt down by security forces in June previous year.

The last major attack was in 2016 when militants raided an Indian army camp in Uri that killed 20 soldiers.

Yusuf noted that the key factor in preventing war between India and Pakistan has been USA mediation and diplomacy efforts that have served to cool tensions.

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