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Reasi terror attack: NIA investigation points towards role of Pak-based LeT handlers behind ambush

Reasi terror attack: On June 9, terrorists had opened fire at a bus of pilgrims in Reasi and killed 9 of them, including a child. The NIA had earlier conducted searches on multiple locations in Jammu and Kashmir in connection with the case.

Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi New Delhi Updated on: July 10, 2024 7:03 IST
Reasi, Reasi  terror attack, NIA
Image Source : PTI The damaged bus after it plunged into a gorge following an attack by suspected terrorists in Reasi

Reasi terror attack: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has discovered that Pakistan-based handlers from the banned terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were involved in last month's attack on a bus carrying pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi, officials said. The NIA's interrogation of an arrested accused Hakam Khan alias Hakin Din has pointed towards the role of LeT handlers.

The terrorists had opened fire at a  53-seater bus carrying Hindu pilgrims from Shiv Khori to Katra on the evening of June 9 in the Pouni area of Reasi district, causing the bus to fall into a nearby gorge, killing 9 people, including a child and injuring 41. 

What NIA investigation reveal?

NIA officials revealed that at least three terrorists might have been involved in the bus attack. During the interrogation, Hakam Khan admitted to providing shelter, logistics, and food to the terrorists.

Khan also helped the terrorists conduct recce of the area and even accompanied them. The officials noted that the terrorists involved in the attack stayed with Khan on at least three occasions since June 1.

Following the information provided by Khan, the NIA searched five locations associated with hybrid terrorists and their overground workers on June 30.

Khan's interrogation has also indicated the involvement of two Pakistan-based LeT commanders, Saifullah alias Sajid Jutt and Abu Qatal alias Qatal Sindhi, who may have acted as the handlers for the attackers, the official said.

This aspect is being further verified, the official added.

The NIA took over the investigation into the case on June 15, following orders from the Union Home Ministry.

NIA to investigate Poonch terror attack 

LeT commanders Jutt and Qatal have also been named in a chargesheet filed by the NIA this year in connection with its probe into the attack on civilians in J-K's Rajouri district in 2023.

On January 1, 2023, terrorists attacked Dhangri village in Rajouri, killing seven people from the minority community and injuring several others. Five civilians were killed by gunfire, and two died the next day in an IED blast.

The NIA stated it has yet to determine any common angle in the recent terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.

The agency has also decided to register a case to investigate last year's terror attack on an Army convoy in Poonch, which resulted in the deaths of five personnel.

The investigation will seek to identify any "common angle" between last year's attack and the recent terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. Officials noted that the involvement of Pakistan-based handlers cannot be ruled out.

On April 20, 2023, five Army personnel were killed and another was seriously injured when their vehicle caught fire following a terrorist attack in the Bhata Dhurian area of Poonch district.

(With PTI inputs)

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Also Read: NIA launches investigation after terrorist attack in Kathua claims lives of 5 army personnel



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