Bomb In Kashmir Kills 34 Indian Soldiers In Deadliest Militant Attack In Decades

Kashmir Conflict
Vehicles set alight by demonstrators are pictured during a protest against the attack on a bus that killed 44 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in south Kashmir (Photo: Reuters)

A vehicle filled with over 700 pounds of explosives rammed into a bus filled with Indian paramilitary police, reports have revealed. The incident resulted in the death of at least 44 soldiers; the deadliest militant attack on Indian forces in decades. The death toll is still not final as some of the soldiers are still reportedly in critically condition.

 According to a report from the BBC, the Islamist group Jaish-e Mohammad, which is based in Pakistan, has claimed responsibility for the suicide attack. The militant group, led by Islamic cleric Masson Azhar, is designated as a terrorist organization by India, the United Nations, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The group has initiated various attacks on Indian soil, including the 2001 attack on the parliament building in Delhi. The attack took both Pakistan and India to the brink of war. Both countries have fought three wars since their independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, two of which were over the control of Kashmir.

Indian media reports have revealed that the incident happened along the heavily-guarded Srinagar-Jammu highway, just 20km away from the Indian-controlled city in Kashmir, Srinagar. Indian police officials revealed that a car suddenly overtook a convoy of at least 70 vehicles, which were filled with around 2,500 troops. The car reportedly rammed into one of the vehicles in the convoy before exploding. The bus that was hit by the unidentified vehicle was carrying dozens of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.

The latest attack is currently the deadliest one against Indian forces in Kashmir since the insurgency against Indian rule in 1989. There have at least been 10 suicide attacks since the insurgency began, with two of them having been car bombs.

Prior to this attack, the deadliest attack in Kashmir happened in 2002 when militant fighters raided an army base in Kaluchak. Most of the 31 victims that were killed were relatives and family members of the soldiers inside the base. In 2016, 19 Indian soldiers were killed when militants raided another base in Uri. Last year, it was estimated that around 500 people from both sides were killed throughout different encounters and attacks.

Similar to previous attacks, the Indian government has condemned the perpetrators and called out Pakistan for supporting militant groups such as the Jaish-e Mohammad. Pakistan, on the other hand, has denied that it had anything to do with the suicide attack and that it had any links with militant groups. Members of the United Nations, including the United States, have publicly condemned the recent attack. 

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