NIA takes over probe of failed fidayeen attack

NIA takes over probe of failed fidayeen attack

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the probe of a failed fidayeen (suicide) attack attempted by the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen on a convoy of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway near Banihal on March 30.

Inspector General of Police, NIA, Alok Mittal confirmed this. 

On March 30, at about 10.15 am, a Santro car loaded with explosives hit a CRPF bus in Banihal while the convoy was moving from Srinagar to Jammu. The bus suffered minor damages while the CRPF personnel had a narrow escape.

The Jammu and Kashmir police said massive amounts of explosives were found at the blast site around the car, including 50 gelatin sticks, urea, ammonium nitrate, two LPG cylinders, one Improvised Explosive Device (IED), and an un-exploded IED inside.

Police had arrested Owais Ameen, a resident of Shopian in south Kashmir, within 36 hours of the incident and claimed that he was a fidayeen belonging to Hizbul. “During interrogation, he confessed to his crime. He is a resident of Shopian. This appeared to be a fidayeen (suicide attack) and as per our investigation till now, he belongs to Hizb-ul-Mujahideen,” police said.

However, state police chief Dilbagh Singh later said that the “trigger mechanism” was not perfect and the blast was minor.

Earlier, on February 14, in one of the worst casualties suffered by the security forces during peacetime operations, 40 CRPF personnel were killed and several others wounded when a fidayeen bomber rammed his vehicle packed with explosives into a paramilitary bus on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway in Pulwama.

Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack and released a video clip of the suicide bomber, Adil Ahmed Dar, which it claimed was shot before the young man carried out the attack. In the video, Dar can be seen brandishing rifles and standing in front of the Jaish banners.

Since then, the government has reserved the highway exclusively for transportation of security forces twice a week until the end of May, to eliminate the possibility of suicide attacks during the ongoing poll process.