Suicide bombing was well planned, militants selected spot after recce: Security officials

The bomber entered the CRPF convoy about a kilometre from the spot and blew up the vehicle when convoy had slowed down.

Published: 17th February 2019 12:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th February 2019 12:39 AM   |  A+A-

Security agencies inspect the site of suicide bomb attack at Lethpora area in Pulwama district of south Kashmir Friday Feb. 15 2019. | PTI

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: The Thursday's suicide car bombing on a CRPF vehicle, which was part of 78 vehicles of the convoy, on Srinagar-Jammu national highway at Lethpora area in south Kashmir's Pulwama district was a well-planned attack and militants might have selected the advantageous spot for the attack after proper recce, security officials believe.

A police official said the Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber Aadil Ahmad alias Waqas Commando was not travelling with the CRPF convoy from a long distance."Had it been case then the CRPF men and Road Opening Parties (ROPs) would have noticed something wrong and not allowed the SUV to enter their convoy," he said.

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Aadil, he said, joined the convoy probably from a culvert, some half a kilometre or a kilometre away from the spot where he detonated his explosive-laden vehicle reducing the CRPF bus to a mangled heap of iron and killing all the paramilitary personnel travelling in the bus.

Three CRPF buses were damaged in the blast. The one, which was hit by the car bombing, was reduced to iron heap while the second and third vehicles were also damaged by the impact of the blast, which was felt around 10 km from the spot.

At least 40 CRPF men were killed and over three dozen injured in the suicide bombing, which was one of the deadliest and worst militant attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.

Former J&K's Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldip Khoda said the militants might have had done proper planning for the attack."They might have also conducted a recce of the spot. They would have done the field run. They would have checked whether security men allow passage of civilian vehicles in their convoys," he said.

Khoda said it would have taken militants a few months to prepare the explosive-laden vehicle and train the suicide bomber in the handling of the explosives. A security official said militants had selected the point for the bombing to their advantage.

The suicide bombing had taken place at a point on Srinagar-Jammu national highway in Lethpora where there is a slope and vehicles have to slow down. "As the movement the CRPF vehicles slowed down at the point, the bomber blew up his explosive ridden vehicle on the left side of CRPF bus, which was the 5th bus in 78 buses convoy," the official said.

He said the militants had selected the spot, where no CCTV camera was installed."Had the bombing taken place, few meters ahead it might have been captured in CCTV cameras as some shops there had the CCTVs," the official said.

There have been unconfirmed reports that militants were also present near the scene of the blast and telling civilian vehicles to go slow on the highway.

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"Our party was there on the highway and we did not notice anything suspicious. Had civilian movement been stopped, we could have noticed it. There was nothing like it," a police official said.

However, he did not rule out the shooting of video of the bombing by the Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of the militants."The militants had information about the bombing. Maybe the OGWs were present in the area and shot the video. If there will be any such video, the militant outfit may release it in future," the official said.

The militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad released the pre-recorded video of the 19-year-old suicide bomber Aadil Ahmad Dar of Gandibagh village of Kakapora in south Kashmir's Pulwama district.

In the video, 19-year-old bomber says by the time tomorrow "you see this video I will have achieved martyrdom".

Khoda said there is a possibility that militants had information about the movement of a large convoy on the highway. "The militant sympathizer or OGW could have informed the militants about the movement of large CRPF convoy on the highway," he added.

Police and other security agencies have launched an inquiry to ascertain how and where from the SUV entered the convoy and how it was not detected by ROPs.

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