NIA takes up case of 'failed Banihal suicide attack'

The National Investigation Agency has been tasked to probe a failed suicide attack by HizbulMujahideen, believed attempted by the militant group on a convoy of Central Reserve Police Force on March 30.

The attack was attempted near Banihal along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway.    

“We have taken over the case,” Inspector General of Police, NIA, Alok Mittal, told Greater Kashmir.

“Now we will be investigating the case.”

So far Jammu and Kashmir Police have arrested the “fidayeen” allegedly belonging to militant outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and involved in the attack.

The accused was identified as OwaisAmeen, who was arrested within 36 hours of the incident.

“During interrogation he confessed to his crime. He is a resident of Shopian. This appeared to be a fidayeen (suicide attack) and as per our investigation till now he belongs to Hizb-ul-Mujahideen,” police said.

According to police, at about 10:15 am on March 30 a Santro car loaded with explosives hit a CRPF bus at Banihal while the convoy was moving from Srinagar to Jammu.

The bus suffered minor damage and the CRPF personnel traveling in it had a narrow escape.

Police has said massive amounts of explosive materials were found at the blast site spread around the car that included 50 gelatin sticks, urea, ammonium nitrate, 2 LPG cylinders, one Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and an unexploded IED inside a tiffin box.

However, DGP Dilbagh Singh later said that the “trigger mechanism” was not perfect and the blast was minor.

“The trigger mechanism was not perfect as a result secondary blast in the cylinder and IED didn’t get initiated. The only primary blast of less intensity took place and the accused escaped after triggering the primary blast only,” Singh had said.

Security of CRPF convoys moving along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway has been a focus since a suicide car bombing killed 40 paramilitary troopers in February in Pulwama.

The government reserves the highway exclusively for transportation of security forces twice every week until the end of May.

Officials have said that the measure was adopted to eliminate possibility of suicide attacks during the ongoing poll process.