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Deadlier than URI

Srinagar: In the worst ever terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir since militancy erupted in 1989, a suicide bomber on Thursday rammed his SUV packed with explosives into a CRPF bus on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama district, killing at least 42 troopers and leaving the security established stunned.

The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the horror and released a video clip of the suicide bomber, a 'commander' identified as Adil Ahmad Dar, which it claimed was shot before the young man carried out the strike in Lethpora, about 30 km from here.

While precise details of the attack were still unclear, police sources said the suicide bomber-driven SUV came along the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bus when a 78-vehicle convoy carrying 2,547 security personnel was going from the transit camp in Jammu to Srinagar and rammed it into the bus around 3.15 p.m., triggering a deafening explosion.

So devastating was the attack -one report spoke of 350 kg of explosives, including probably RDX, packed into the SUV - that the CRPF bus was left in a mangled heap, many of its occupants losing their limbs. The bus was transporting 39 troopers. CRPF officials said the bus which was the main target of the militants was destroyed fully while another CRPF vehicle was partly damaged. "It is difficult to believe how anyone in that bus could have survived," said a police officer.

Jammu and Kashmir Police chief Dilbag Singh said it could have been a suicide attack. This was confirmed by other officials later.

In a statement to a local news agency GNS, a caller claiming to be a spokesmwan of JeM said it was a 'fidayeen' (suicide) attack.

All the injured were shifted to the Army's 92 Base Hospital in the Badamibagh cantonment of Srinagar city. Some of them were in critical condition.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in condemning the horror.

The Cabinet Committee on Security will meet Friday morning to take stock of security measures following Thursday's deadly attack.

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