8 CRPF men killed as ultras ambush convoy in J&K

8 CRPF men killed as ultras ambush convoy in J&K

20 troopers injured; LeT claims responsibility

8 CRPF men killed as ultras ambush convoy in J&K

In a daring attack, militants ambushed a CRPF convoy on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway near Pampore on the city outskirts on Saturday, killing at least eight paramilitary personnel and injuring more than 20 troopers.

The two militants involved in the attack were also killed in the retaliatory action by the security forces.

Sources said five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed on the spot, while three more died of their injuries at the Army’s 92-Base Hospital in Srinagar.

Nearly 20 troopers were injured in the brazen attack which occurred barely a few kilometres from the Army’s 15-Corps headquarters.

Sources said the militants, believed to be three to four in number, ambushed the convoy and opened fire on the CRPF bus near Frestbal, Pampore, at around 4:45 pm. CRPF spokesman, Bhavesh Kumar Choudhary, said the troopers were returning from a firing range practice when the militants attacked them. He confirmed that eight CRPF men were killed.

CRPF Inspector General Nalin Prabhat said the slain militants appeared to be members of Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan.

“Firing exchanges are still going on at the attack site as two militants are reported to be firing at the security forces,” he said, adding that reinforcements have been rushed to the area to ensure that the surviving militants don’t escape. Reports said traffic on the busy national highway came to halt immediately after one of the deadliest attacks in recent years and tension gripped the nearby Pampore town.

A senior police officer wishing anonymity termed the attack a “major security lapse” as it came amid a high state of alert sounded by intelligence agencies that a group of heavily armed militants have shifted their base from north to south Kashmir to carry out a major attack.

In the past several days, intelligence agencies had received inputs that militants might strike in big way to create news on the day when the by-poll results of the Anantnag Assembly segment were announced. However, despite all the checking in the past few days, the militants have been successful in their plans,” Prabhat told DH.

Lashker-e-Toiba claimed responsibility for the attacks. Abdullah Gaznavi, identifying himself as a spokesperson of the outfit, called up a local news agency and claimed that 13 troopers were killed in the attack and 20 were injured.

This is the fourth attack on the security forces in the state this month.

In the three previous attacks, five police and Border Security Force personnel were killed and several injured.

The latest attack is the deadliest since 2013, when on June 24 that year, militants ambushed an army convoy at Hyderpora bypass in Srinagar, killing 11 soldiers.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the attack on the CRPF men. “The only purpose of such blood-spattered acts of violence is to add to the tragedies and miseries of the people and subvert the government’s efforts aimed at bringing permanent peace and prosperity to Jammu and Kashmir,” the chief minister said in a statement.

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