Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist owned explosive-laden car: Cops
A Hizbul Mujahideen militant active in south Kashmir is the owner of the explosive-laden vehicle that security forces intercepted on Thursday, foiling a planned car bombing similar to the 2019 Pulwama attack, J&K police said on Friday.
The vehicle, a white Santro, was laden with at least 40 kilograms of explosives and found in a village near Rajpora in Pulwama district, where a suicide car bombing on February 14, 2019, left 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers dead. The car was not registered in the Kashmir valley, but in the Jammu division of the J&K Union territory, the police said.
A police officer privy to the investigations said the Hizbul militant, who is active in south Kashmir over the last two years and is the owner of the car, is at large, but efforts are on to catch him. The car belongs to Hidayatullah Malik of Sharat Pora village in Shopian district; Malik has been an active militant of the Hizbul since July 2019, said the officer, who requested anonymity.
Vijay Kumar, the inspector general of police, (IGP), Kashmir zone, said that security forces received both intelligence inputs last week that the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which had claimed responsibility for the 2019 Pulwama attack, and the Hizbul Mujahideen were planning a major suicide attack using a car bomb.
“On Wednesday, [J&K] police, Army and the CRPF established multiple barricades after the leads about the attack emerged. In the evening, a naka party directed a car to stop, but it sped away. At another naka, warning shots were fired on the vehicle. The car’s driver fled towards a forest under the darkness of the night,’’ Kumar had said.
The police are seeking expert opinion on the nature of the explosives, which were destroyed through a controlled explosion.
The Pulwama car bombing led to the Indian Air Force bombing a JeM terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot and brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.