The death toll of CRPF men in Awantipora suicide attack has gone up to 44 while several other men of the force are wounded. The condition of some of them is reported to be critical.
Police sources said that the death toll could mount as the process of identification of the dead personnel was still on.
The deadly incident occurred at around 3 pm when a CRPF convoy coming from Jammu was attacked by blowing up an explosive-laden car at Goripora near Awantipora on Srinagar-Jammu national highway.
According to police as suicide bomber rammed the car into a bus carrying CRPF men destroying the bus. Several other vehicles of the convoy also were damaged under the impact of the blast.
At least 13 men of the force were reported dead on spot besides causing injuries to around 50 other personnel. The death toll has now gone up to 40 as several injured personnel have succumbed to their injuries.
Sources, quoting eyewitnesses said that huge explosion was heard in the area before coming upon chaotic scene of broken glasses and parts of vehicles, scattered luggage and bloodied personnel.
Photographs showed charred remains of vehicles and human body parts littered across the highway, alongside blue military buses.
Following the blast, the traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu highway came to standstill and when the report last came in the road was still closed. Soon after the blast, government forces launched the searches in the entire area.
The internet service also been suspended in south Kashmir.
Jaish-eMohammad has claimed the responsibility for the attack. A spokesman of the outfit said that a local Jaish cadre Aadil Ahmad Dar alias vikas commando carried out the attack.
The Jaish released a video of the militant who carried out the attack.
The militant is reported to have used a Mahindra Scorpio laden with more than 350 kg of explosives to carry out the attack.
This is the biggest ever attack militants have carried out in Kashmir since the eruption of militancy in late 80s. Even as militants carried out some high profile attack including a suicide attack on army’s Badami Bagh Corps headquarters, Jammu and kashmir assembly and army’s brigade headquarters in Uri but casualty-wise this is the biggest attack.
Jammu and Kashmir police has confirmed the death of 33 CRPF personnel while CRPF is reported to have confirmed the death of 44 personnel of the force.
The injured have been moved to the army base hospital in Srinagar, 20 km from the attack site. Terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Home Ministry sources said that terrorists triggered the car bomb while 78 vehicles with over 2,500 CRPF men were on the Srinagar-Jammu highway. The stretch on which the incident occurred had been sanitized earlier in the morning, and authorities have termed it as a “serious breach” of security.
Sources said that massive search operation has been launched by army, CRPF and police to track down the other militants involved in devising and executing the plan. Reports said that around 20 persons have been taken into custody during house to house search.