M A I N   N E W S

IED Blast
Nine jawans killed
Kumar Rakesh
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 19
Militants blew up an Army convoy by triggering off a massive blast at Narbal on Srinagar-Baramulla highway on Saturday, killing at least nine jawans and injuring at least 20 others, police said.

Most of the victims were soldiers heading for their homes on leave. They were in an Army bus, which was targeted by militants 14 km from here by a suspected remote-controlled improvised explosive device (IED) at around 4 pm. It was the first major IED attack on security forces this year.

Hizbul Mujahideen called up a local news agency and claimed responsibility for the attack.

The convoy was moving to Srinagar from Chowkibal in Kupwara district. A police official present on the spot told The Tribune that the IED was suspected to be hidden under some material kept on the roadside for construction work. The blast hurtled the bus several feet away on the other side of the road. The front and the left part of the bus were completely damaged.

The blast on the all-important national highway has rattled the top security establishment and the CRPF is likely to be put under scanner as the securing of the highway is its responsibility, a police official said.

The blast reaffirms the militant outfits’ determined efforts to step up violence in the state and comes close on the heels of grenade attack on CRPC in Banihal yesterday and another attack on a police station in Doda the day before, in which which killed two persons and left 30 others, mostly civilians, injured.

Security forces were confident that they had blunted militants’ capability of launching any high-profile attack, especially by IED, with killings and arrest of a majority of their top commanders. The arrest of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Rayees Kachroo, an expert in cobbling together deadly IEDs and who was behind the killing of at least 16 Army and CRPF personnel, in March has given a boost to such assertions.

“There have been major infiltrations across LoC this year and the depleted ranks of militant outfits have swelled up. We have definitely tough time ahead,” a senior police official said.

Meanwhile, the Army said they have killed three infiltrating militants near LoC in Kupwara district. Another militant was killed in Bandipore.

Governor N. N. Vohra spoke to Lt-General Mukesh Sabharwal, GOC, 15 Corps, and expressed his deep shock over the loss of lives in the blast and conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved families.



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