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Death toll in Pulwama terror attack on CRPF personnel mounts to 40

Pulwama attack Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Srinagar Feb 15, 2019, 11.55 AM (IST)

The toll in the terror attack on CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district has risen to 40, a senior official said Friday.

A Jaish suicide bomber Thursday rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into a bus carrying CRPF personnel in Pulwama district.

"A total of 40 personnel have been killed in Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir. Five troops are injured," the senior official said.

In the wake of the incident, the CRPF has issued a 'high vigil' alert to all its formations in the Kashmir Valley and other places in the state.

Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General R R Bhatnagar and senior officials of the force are leaving for Kashmir as part of a team led by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

They are also expected to meet the injured who are admitted to the 92 base hospital of the Army in Srinagar, they said.

More than 2,500 CRPF personnel, many of them returning from leave to rejoin duty in the Valley, were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when they were ambushed on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway at Latoomode in Awantipora in south Kashmir around 3.15 pm on Thursday.

The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack that took place about 20 km from Srinagar, officials had said.

Police identified the suicide bomber as Adil Ahmed, who officials said joined the Jaish in 2018. 

He was driving a vehicle packed with over 100 kg of explosives on the wrong side of the road and hit the bus, in which estimated 39-44 personnel were travelling, head-on, an official at the spot had said.

The powerful explosion, which reduced the bus to a mangled heap of iron, was heard many kilometres away, including in some parts of Srinagar adjoining Pulwama district. It is estimated that about 70-80 kgs of high-grade explosive was used in the blast.