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Pulwana Terror Attack: India hunting for mastermind of Kashmir bombing

The Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack on Indian security forces in decades, fuelling tensions between India and Pakistan.

February 17, 2019 / 06:11 PM IST
Pulwama: The terrorist attack, which martyred 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama, shocked the nation and brought India on a brink of war with Pakistan after the country's forces responded by conducting the Balakot airstrikes. (Image: PTI)

Pulwama: The terrorist attack, which martyred 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama, shocked the nation and brought India on a brink of war with Pakistan after the country's forces responded by conducting the Balakot airstrikes. (Image: PTI)

Hundreds of Indian forces were on February 17 hunting for the Kashmir chief of the Pakistan-based militant group believed to have masterminded a car bombing on an Indian security convoy, killing 44 paramilitary police.

The Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack on Indian security forces in decades, fuelling tensions between India and Pakistan.

India has demanded Pakistan close down the Jaish and other Islamist militant groups that operate from its soil. Islamabad has rejected the suggestion it was linked to the attack.

Within Kashmir, Indian military and police officials were looking for Mohammed Umair, the commander of the Jaish in the region, believed to have plotted the attack.

A police official said they had information that Umair had "radicalized and motivated" the Kashmiri school dropout who rammed a car laden with explosives into the convoy on February 14.

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Umair is thought to have entered Indian Kashmir from Pakistan in September to head the Jaish in the region. Security forces suspect he is in hiding in southern Kashmir, the police officer told Reuters. He couldn't be named in line with policy.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region at the heart of decades of hostility, is claimed in entirety by India and Pakistan, but ruled in part by both the south Asian countries.

Indian officials say Umair is a nephew of the chief of the Jaish, Masood Azhar, who is believed to be in Pakistan.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised a befitting reply to the attack and says he has given the military a free hand to tackle cross border militancy.

The Jaish is considered one of the most lethal militant groups and has expanded its presence in Kashmir, the police officer said.

A spokesman for the ministry of home affairs declined to comment.
Reuters
first published: Feb 17, 2019 05:59 pm

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