In the deadliest attack on security forces in recent years, eight CRPF personnel were killed and 21 others critically wounded when terrorists rained bullets on a bus carrying them at Pampore, near here, in what appeared to be a Fidayeen attack carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba.
“First hand impression of the bodies of terrorists is that both appear to be Pakistanis, definitely from Lashkar, and in all likelihood they were Fidayeen (suicide attackers),” Inspector General of CRPF Nalin Prabhat said here. He said the bus, which was returning after a firing exercise to Srinagar, was ambushed by two terrorists who were coming from the opposite side.
“They got down from a car and fired indiscriminately at the bus. Before they could enter the bus, which had come to halt due to firing, they were killed by the Road Opening Party (ROP) of the CRPF,” he said. The suspected LeT terrorists sprayed the bus carrying the personnel of 161 battalion of CRPF with bullets at Frestbal, 14 KMs from here.
According to some accounts, two more militants were involved in the attack but there was no official confirmation. The area has been sealed and message flashed about the possibility of two terrorists having fled the spot. The injured were rushed to the hospital where doctors declared five of them having been brought dead, while the condition of four of the 21 personnel was stated to be critical.
After the encounter was over, bodies of three more CRPF personnel were found on the back seats of the bus raising the death toll to eight.
The terrorists appeared to have carefully chosen the spot for the ambush as every vehicle has to slow down there because of a sharp curve on the road. Security agencies suspect a reconnaisance might have preceded the assault. This is the third terror strike in three weeks targeting security personnel and the deadliest after the June 24, 2013 attack on Army personnel at Hyderpora on the outskirts of Srinagar in which nine armymen were gunned down.
Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police K Rajendra, who visited the spot, said the two terrorists had been neutralized but “unfortunately we have suffered some causalities too”. Asked whether the slain terrorists were from across the border, Rajendra said, “In all probability they seem to be from Pakistan.” Director General of CRPF Durga Prasad will visit the scene of encounter tomorrow.
In Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressed deep anguish over killing of CRPF personnel. “My heart goes out to the families of the CRPF men who lost their lives in Pampore. I also pray for the speedy recovery of the injured,” he said in a tweet.
This is the second attack on a bus carrying security personnel within three weeks. On June 3, terrorists had fired at a bus carrying BSF personnel in Bijbehara, killing two of them. On June four, terrorists had gunned down three policemen at general bus stand.