Four policemen killed in blast in Jammu and Kashmir’s Sopore, JeM ‘claims’ responsibility
The attack took place on the 25th anniversary of the death of 57 people killed in firing by security forces in Sopore.Updated: Jan 06, 2018 22:38 IST
At least four policemen were killed in a powerful explosion in Sopore town in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Saturday and banned militant organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack.
The improvised explosive device (IED) was planted near a shop in a market, which was closed in response to a separatist strike in Sopore to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of 57 people in a security crackdown during a public unrest in 1993.
The shutdown has prompted the government to deploy a large number of security forces in the area.
The bomb went off around 10.20am and three policemen were killed instantly, north Kashmir deputy inspector general of police VK Birdi said. A fourth policeman was severely wounded and he died later.
This is the second attack by the Pakistan-based militant group after Sunday’s predawn assault on a CRPF camp in south Kashmir. Security forces suffered many casualties in both attacks.
A Jaish spokesperson claimed in a statement to news agency GNS that the outfit triggered the blast in Sopore. “The Shaheed Afzal Guru squad carried out the attack,” he said.
According to police officers, the Jaish is trying to fill the space after security forces gunned down several top leaders of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen operating in the Kashmir Valley in 2017.
A police statement said last week that 206 militants were killed last year, including Noor Mohammad Tantray, the four-feet-tall Jaish commander who was gunned down on December 26.
Tantray was a top recruiter for the outfit in the Valley, although most of the recruits are Pakistanis, according to police officer who didn’t want to be named.
Security experts fear the Jaish could be a bigger challenge than the other groups because of its surprise suicide attacks that inflict substantial damage.
“Jaish is trying to show its presence,” inspector general of police Muneer Khan said. “All necessary steps are being taken to contain the group.”
Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti took to Twitter to condole the death of the policemen. “Pained to hear that four policeman have been killed in an IED explosion in Sopore. My deepest condolences to their families,” she tweeted.
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
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and his father, Farooq Abdullah, offered their condolences as well.