Srinagar, Feb 15: In the death-dealing terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir ever, at least 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and more than 12 others injured on Thursday when a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist pushed an explosives-laden SUV into their bus in Pulwama district.
The police and witnesses said that a lone suicide attacker exploded a Mahindra Scorpio laden with around 350 kgs of explosive near a bus at around 3.15 pm as a convoy of 78 CRPF vehicles was travelling down the heavily guarded stretch of the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Lethapora in southern Pulwama district, about 30 kilometres from Srinagar.
Witnesses said that the CRPF bus was blasted open and reduced to ribbons of charred metal, with body parts of the victims were strewn on the highway.
Several other vehicles in the convoy as well as nearby shops and buildings also suffered damage due to the massive blast.The CRPF bus which was directly attacked was carrying 39-44 personnel, reports said.
The vehicle's body bore bullet marks, indicating that more terrorists may have been hiding and may have fired at the convoy, officials said.
There were about 2,500 CRPF personnel on board the 78 vehicles in the convoy that was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar.
It was an unusually long convoy as many personnel were being transported at one go because the Srinagar-Jammu highway had been shut for the last 2 days due to bad weather. The convoy had left Jammu around 3.30 am and was expected to reach Srinagar before sunset.
The JeM claimed responsibility for the powerful explosion that could be heard about 10-12 km away, including some parts of Srinagar adjoining the Pulwama district.
The terror outfit also put out a video and photos of an armed man, Adil Ahmad Dar alias Waqas commando from Kakapora, and claimed that he was the suicide attacker. He had joined the group in 2018. Body parts of Adil, who was driving the explosive-laden vehicle, were also found at the spot.
Meanwhile, India slammed Pakistan for the attack and asked the neighbouring country to stop supporting terrorists and dismantle terror infrastructure operating from its soil.