Pulwama fidayeen attack toll mounts to 49

Pulwama fidayeen attack toll mounts to 49

Army soldiers at the site of suicide bomb attack at Lathepora Awantipora in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, Thursday, February 14, 2019. At least 30 CRPF jawans were killed and dozens other injured when a CRPF convoy was attacked. (PTI Photo)

The death toll from Thursday’s fidayeen (suicide) attack on a paramilitary CRPF convoy in Kashmir rose to 49 as four more seriously wounded paramilitary men succumbed to their injuries at army's 92 base hospital Badamibagh Srinagar on Friday.

The attack took place along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a CRPF convoy in Lethpora area at around 3:15 p.m. on Thursday.

The powerful blast took place when a CRPF convoy of more than 70 vehicles was moving through Lethpora, shaking the earth beneath the feet of thousands of commuters and local residents. Besides, 38 others were wounded in the worst-ever attack in last 29-years of Jammu and Kashmir.

The vehicle used by the lone suicide attacker was a four-wheeler Scorpio carrying more than 350 kilograms of explosives. The blast reduced the bus to a mangled heap of iron, while body parts and torn clothes were seen strewn around the area. The explosion was so massive that its sound was heard 10 km away.

The attack happened even as an intelligence input had warned of its the possibility 48 hours earlier. The intelligence input had said: “Chatter inputs reveal that JeM outfit has hinted to carry out IED attacks along the routes of security forces across Jammu and Kashmir. A video uploaded by the outfit has also been shared with all concerned. It is as such suggested that security forces need to be put on alert to thwart any such attempt by terrorists.”

Sources said the intelligence input was shared with all security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

This was the second fidayeen attack in Lethpora in the past more than a year. On 1 January 2018, Jaish fidayeen carried an attack at a CRPF training centre in Lethpora, leaving five personnel of the force and three militants dead.

A 12-member team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) and another team of the national security guards (NSG) have arrived here to assist the police in the investigation of the strike, sources said.