30 CRPF troopers killed in suicide attack in Kashmir

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Srinagar:  At least 30 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were killed and many others injured on Thursday in an audacious suicide attack by militants on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Police said the militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting a CRPF convoy in Lethpora area, about 30 km from here, around 3.15 p.m.

“There were 70 vehicles in the convoy and one of the vehicles came under attack. The convoy was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar,” said CRPF (Operations) IG Zulfiqar Hassan adding that the Jammu and Kashmir police have taken over the investigation into the terror attack.

“There were 2500 personnel in the convoy,” news agency ANI quoted CRPF DG RR Bhatnagar as saying on Pulwama attack.All the injured have been shifted to the Army’s Base Hospital in Srinagar.

“The IED had been planted inside a moving car on the highway and was detonated when the car came close to the CRPF bus which was part of a CRPF convoy coming to Srinagar from Jammu,” the officer said.

Reports said the militants also fired from automatic weapons at the CRPF bus after detonating the IED.

Jammu and Kashmir Police chief Dilbag Singh confirmed that 18 CRPF troopers had been killed and said it could well have been a suicide attack.

The Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militant group claimed responsibly for the bloodbath.

In a statement to a local news agency GNS, a caller claiming to be a spokesman of JeM said it was a ‘fidayeen’ (suicide) attack by the outfit.

Reacting to the terror incident, Congress president Rahul Gandhi termed it a “cowardly attack”. Gandhi wrote on Twitter, “I’m deeply disturbed by the cowardly attack on a #CRPF convoy in J&K in which 10 of our brave men have been martyred and many others wounded. My condolences to the families of our martyrs. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala condemned the “cowardly terror attack on our jawans in Pulwama”. He said, “Our homage to the 18 brave hearts who made the supreme sacrifice and condolences to their family. Uri, Pathankot, Pulwama- the terror list and compromise of National Security by Modi government continues unabated.” — Agencies

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