Published: Fri, February 15, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

J&K terror attack: At least 30 police personnel killed, several injured

J&K terror attack: At least 30 police personnel killed, several injured

Some of the bodies were so badly blown up that officials feel it may take some time to identity them, PTI reported.

He was driving a vehicle packed with over 100 kg of explosives on the wrong side of the road and hit the bus, in which 39-44 personnel were travelling, head-on, an official at the spot said.

Unconfirmed photos showed the charred remains of at least one vehicle littered across the highway, alongside blue military buses.

Local media reports said the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed group had claimed responsibility.

Adil Ahmad, also known as "Adil Ahmad Gaadi Takranewala" and "Waqas Commando of Gundibagh", joined the terror outfit previous year. Later a police officer confirmed that the chances of anyone surviving were close to slim.

Given the number of militants associated with Jaish-e-Mohammad, how an attack of this magnitude was carried out has baffled the security agencies. The last time a auto bombing of such magnitude happened was in 2001 when JeM carried out a suicide bomb attack outside the Srinagar secretariat killing 38 people and injuring 40 others.

State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said Washington was "resolutely committed to working with the Indian government to combat terrorism in all its forms".

It was the deadliest attack on Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir for years.

India also strongly reiterated its appeal to all members of the worldwide community to support the proposal to list terrorists, including JeM chief Masood Azhar, as a designated terrorist under the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council, and to ban terrorist organisations operating from territories controlled by Pakistan. The explosion was heard up to 12 kilometres away, it said.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi may meet on Friday to take stock of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Both India and the United States see Pakistan as providing safe haven for terrorist groups and often bring up the fact that the leadership of groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the gruesome Mumbai attacks in 2008, still live freely in Pakistan.

"I condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms".

In January 2018, an IED explosion by the Jaish-e-Mohammed in Kashmir's Sopore district killed four police personnel, while another IED was defused in January along the Srinagar-Baramulla highway.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence. The Islamist extremist group, reportedly emerged in the early 2000s, claims its main aim is uniting the disputed Kashmir region with Pakistan and to expel foreign troops from Afghanistan.

By 2003, Jaish had split into two groups, because a majority of jihadis under its banner were angry with Masood Azhar for staying loyal to Pakistan state despite the then President Pervez Musharraf announcing his decision to join the American War on Terror.

The Central Reserve Force Police is a paramilitary organisation that is working with the Indian military to quell the 30-year insurgency in Kashmir. Islamabad denies the charge, saying it only provides diplomatic support to Kashmiris' right to self-determination.

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