Srinagar: In the deadliest attack on security forces in three years, eight CRPF personnel were killed and 24 others critically wounded when terrorists rained bullets on a bus carrying them in South Kashmir's Pulwama district this evening.
Terrorists sprayed a bus carrying the personnel of 161 battalion of CRPF with bullets at Frestbal, 14 KMs from here, officials said. The CRPF's Road Opening Party (ROP) engaged the terrorists and killed two of them. Two more militants were involved in the attack but there was no official confirmation.
The area has been sealed and message flashed about the possibility of two terrorists having fled the spot in a car towards Srinagar.
The injured were rushed to the hospital where doctors declared five of them having been brought dead, while the condition of four of the 21 personnel was stated to be critical. After the encounter was over, bodies of three more CRPF personnel were found on the back seats of the bus raising the death toll to eight.
LeT claims responsibility
Militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba has claimed the responsibility of attack. Spokesperson Abdullah Ghaznavi said that two LeT militants belonging to a Fidayeen squad attacked the CRPF bus on highway.
“It was a successful attack that such type of attacks will continue in future as well,” he said.
The terrorists appeared to have carefully chosen the spot for the ambush as every vehicle has to slow down there because of a sharp curve on the road. Security agencies suspect a reconnaissance might have preceded the assault.
Third terror strike in 3 weeks
This is the third terror strike in three weeks targeting security personnel and the deadliest after the June 24, 2013 attack on Army personnel at Hyderpora on the outskirts of Srinagar in which nine armymen were gunned down.
Inspector General of CRPF Nalin Prabhat rushed to the spot and was leading the combing operations. "We have eliminated two terrorists who are believed to be from Lashkar-e-Taiba," he said.
Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police K Rajendra, who visited the spot, said the two terrorists had been neutralized but "unfortunately we have suffered some causalities too".
Asked whether the slain terrorists were from across the border, Rajendra said, "In all probability they seem to be from Pakistan."
Rajnath Singh expresses deep anguish
Director General of CRPF Durga Prasad will visit the scene of encounter tomorrow.
In Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed deep anguish over the killing of the CRPF personnel.
"My heart goes out to the families of the CRPF men who lost their lives in Pampore. I also pray for the speedy recovery of the injured," he said in a tweet.
Let's have Iftar party: Abdul Basit on terror attack
When Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit was asked whether he will condemn or not, he said, “I have already said what I think about the relationship between India and Pakistan. Today we are celebrating Iftar. Let's have Iftar party and enjoy ourselves.”
"We want peace in the entire world. Our foreign policy towards India is based on this essence and spirit," Basit added.
Basit further said that Pakistan wants peace and “the two sides must work together for a tension-free & cooperative relationship”.
“We must solve all our problems & settle all our disputes, including J&K, peacefully to usher in era of stability in South Asia," he said.