November 12, 2019

Kashmir attack: Bomb kills 34 soldiers in military convoy

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At least 34 Indian paramilitary soldiers have been killed in a bomb attack by militants on their convoy in .

Police told the BBC that a car filled with explosives rammed a bus carrying the troops to the main city of Srinagar.

The Pakistan-based Islamist group said it carried out a suicide bombing.

It is the deadliest attack on Indian forces in disputed Kashmir for years.

The blast took place on the heavily guarded Srinagar-Jammu highway about 20km (12 miles) from Srinagar.

“It’s not yet clear how many vehicles were in the convoy. A car overtook the convoy and rammed into a bus with 44 personnel on board,” a senior police official told BBC Urdu’s Riyaz Masroor.

The official said the death toll might increase because dozens were “critically injured”. The Central Reserve Police Force confirmed to the BBC that at least 34 of its personnel had been killed in the attack.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was a “despicable” and “dastardly” attack.

The AFP news agency said Jaish-e Mohammad had sent a statement to local media saying it was behind the attack.

Prior to Thursday’s bombing, the deadliest attack on Indian security forces in Kashmir this century came in 2002, when militants killed at least 31 people at an army base in Kaluchak near Jammu, most of them civilians and relatives of soldiers.

Delhi blamed that attack on the Pakistani state, which denied any involvement.

This latest attack is likely to heighten tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

Media captionWhy has 2018 seen a spike in violence in Indian-administered Kashmir?

, a journalist based in Indian-administered Kashmir, said the bombing will boost the morale of militants and contradicts claims the situation in Kashmir is being brought under control.

“Over the past few months, political leaders in Srinagar and Delhi have made tall claims about how the situation in Kashmir has been normalised and hundreds of militants, including top leaders, had been killed,” he told the BBC.

“They claimed that militant groups were on the defensive and fewer people were joining their ranks.”

Both India and Pakistan claim all of Muslim-majority Kashmir but only control parts of it.

The two countries have fought three wars and a limited conflict since independence from Britain in 1947 – all but one were over Kashmir.

For more on this story go to: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-47240660

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