44 CRPF jawans killed, 70 injured in Pulwama terror attack in J&K3 min read 14 Feb 2019, 05:01 PM IST
Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber rams explosives-laden SUV into CRPF convoy in Awantipora, Pulwama
The Pulwama terror attack was the most audacious in Jammu and Kashmir in over a decade
New Delhi: At least 44 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed and scores injured when a car laden with explosives rammed into a CRPF bus—part of a massive convoy—in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, in one of the deadliest terror attacks yet on government forces in the border state.
While the entire convoy route from Srinagar to Udhampur (Jammu) is secured by troops deployed all along the stretch, particularly places where terror attacks can take place, the movement of civilian traffic, intelligence officials added, proved to be a major security loophole in this case.
The Pulwama terror attack marks a dangerous shift in the Kashmir conflict, with terrorists now looking increasingly at using IEDs to maximize damage on the Indian front. A team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is rushing to Kashmir to aid the state police in conducting a forensic examination of the attack.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh will also be travelling to Srinagar on Friday to take stock of the situation.
With nearly 400,000 troops deployed across Jammu and Kashmir, defence experts reiterated that warfare in Kashmir was undergoing a sea change.
“Terrorists in future will rely on indirect attacks or suicide bombers where damage is maximum and casualties among terrorists are minimum. Such tactics have not been used earlier because it very difficult to bring explosives from across and people trained to make IEDs had been killed by forces during 2004-05. Now the expertise has been resurrected and explosives have been brought in. So we need to be extremely cautious," said Lt. Gen (retd) H.S. Panag, a defence expert.
The damage to the Indian side with the IED blast was far heavier than the casualties from the September 2016 JeM attack on an army brigade headquarters in Uri. Nineteen army personnel were killed in that attack.
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.
The US Ambassador to India Ken Juster tweeted, “The US Mission in India strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack in Jammu & Kashmir. We send our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. The United States stands alongside India in confronting terror and defeating it."
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