In the worst ever terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir since militancy erupted in 1989, a suicide bomber on Thursday rammed his SUV packed with explosives into a CRPF bus on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama district, killing at least 34 troopers and injuring many others.
The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Moahammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the bloodbath and released a video clip of the suicide bomber which it claimed was shot before the young man carried out the audacious attack in Lethpora, about 30 km from Srinagar.
The group said one of its commanders, Adil Ahmad Dar, was the suicide bomber.
Police sources and other officials said the suicide bomber-driven SUV came along the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bus when a 78-vehicle convoy carrying 2,547 security personnel was going from the transit camp in Jammu to Srinagar and rammed it into the bus around 3.15 p.m., triggering a deafening explosion.
The first report spoke of eight deaths. But the death toll quickly mounted as other CRPF personnel who rushed towards the targeted bus found it in a mangled heap. The bus was said to be transporting 39 troopers.
CRPF officials said the bus which was the main target of the militants was destroyed fully while another CRPF vehicle was partly damaged. “It is difficult to believe how anyone in the bus could have survived,” said a police officer.