SRINAGAR: In the first Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in the Valley since 2015, four policemen, including an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI), were killed in Sopore town of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Saturday morning.
The Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack that came less than a week of a fidayeen attack on a CRPF camp at Lethpora, Pulwama, in which five CRPF men were killed. A spokesman said the Afzal Guru squad of the outfit carried out the attack.
A police officer said that the IED went off when a police party was patrolling the Chota Bazar area of main town Sopore this morning.
“Four policemen including an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) were killed in the powerful blast,” he said.
Three of the deceased were identified as ASI Irshad of Doda; Mohammad Amin of Kupwara and Ghulam Nabi of Sopore.
Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Munir Ahmad Khan said the militants planted a powerful IED near a shop in Chota Bazar of Sopore town and detonated it around 10 am when the men of IRP 3rd battalion of the J&K police were deployed in the area for law and order duty.
The slain policemen are ASI Irshad Ahmad, constable Ghulam Nabi, constable Parvaiz Ahmad and constable Mohammad Amin.
There are also some injuries in the blast, the impact of which was felt in the adjoining areas.
At least three shops were also damaged in the blast.
Sources said the IED was planted beneath a shop by the militants and detonated through remote control.
Immediately after the blast, police, CRPF and army men launched combing and search operation in the area to nab the attackers.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti strongly condemned the IED blast.
Pained to hear that four policeman have been killed in an IED explosion in Sopore. My deepest condolences to their families.— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) January 6, 2018
“I am pained to hear that four policemen were killed in IED blast in Sopore. My deepest condolences to their families,” Mehbooba tweeted.
The police, CRPF and the army cordoned off the area and launched a combing operation but no arrests were reported. The ADGP said IEDs posed a new challenge to security forces. “It is the first IED blast in Kashmir since 2015. The use of IEDs had stopped in the Valley as it used to cause civilian causalities,” he said.
Sources said the blast seemed to be the work of an expert in explosive devices. “It seems to be the handiwork of a Pakistani militant who might have been trained in handling explosives before his infiltration into the state.”
Sopore town was shut today in remembrance of over 50 civilians killed in alleged security forces firing on this day in 1993. The call for the shutdown was given by the separatist leaders to remember the victims.