Hizb, Jaish militants had fitted 45 kg explosives in a car: IGP
Forces prevented a major suicide attack by militants after detecting and diffusing an explosives-ladden car in south Kashmir's Pulwama district on Thursday, Police said.
A Police officer said the joint Mobile Vehicle Check Points (MVCP) were setup at various locations after intelligence inputs suggested the movement of militants with an explosive laden vehicle in Rajpora area of Pulwama.
He said the movement of suspected vehicle, about which forces had inputs from past one week, was noticed in the area and it challenged it to stop at one of the MVCPs.
However, the officer said, the vehicle fled from the spot towards Avengund village following which police along with Army and CRPF launched search operations in Rajpora and adjoining villages.
"At Avengund a Santro car, with fake registration number, laden with Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was found during the search. The IED was later detonated by Bomb Disposal Squad by considering the precarious nature of device," said a police spokesman.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said for past one week Pulwama Police was receiving inputs that militants of Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad were planning to carry out a suicide attack with an IED-ladden Santro car.
"On Wednesday at around 3 pm the intelligence leads matured. After developing the leads, Army, CRPF and Special Operation Group of Police (SOG) laid joint nakas. When the Santro car approached towards one of the nakas, the forces opened a warning fire. However, the militant-driver of the car made a turn and fled from the spot," Kumar said addressing a news conference here.
When the car was second time spotted at another naka, the forces again fired warning shots.
"The militant escaped taking advantage of darkness and left behind the explosive-laden car," IGP Kashmir said.
The forces waited for the first light while maintaining tight cordon around the area where the militant left the car.
A video footage circulated on social media showed the vehicle, abandoned on a road surrounded by orchards, blew up in flames.
"On Thursday morning, explosive-laden car was diffused and a major attack was averted," Kumar said.
When detonated, the debris of the vehicle flew up about 15 meters in the sky which indicates that the weight of explosive could have been around 45 kgs, he said.
On February 14 in 2019, at least 40 paramilitary CRPF personnel were killed after a local Jaish militant had rammed an explosive laden Eeco-vehicle into a CRPF bus at Lethpora in Pulwama. The attack, which was one of the deadliest since the outbreak of militancy in Kashmir, had also triggered an aerial dog fight between India and Pakistan.
The latest attempt to carry out suicide attack, IGP Kashmir said, was planned to be done by Jaish militant.
He said a Hizb militant Adil, who also works with Jaish and two others were involved in the fresh car-blast attempt.
"The aim was to target any vehicle of Police or force," Kumar said when asked whether the plan was to carry out February 14 like suicide attack.
According to IGP the preliminary investigations suggest that the explosive was made of nitrate salt, urea and nitro glycerin.
"But, we are calling experts from outside as well," he said.
A case FIR No. 40/2020 under relevant provisions of law has been registered in Police Station Rajpora and investigation has been started.
Asked about the identity of the car owner as the car had fake number plate, IGP said the investigation was still underway in the case."