Three BSF troopers were killed and 10 other persons, among them civilians, were injured —three critically—on Friday in a Hizb-ul-Mujhadeen attack on a security forces convoy in south Kashmir's Bijbehara town, police sources said.
A police official here in Srinagar said that "a BSF convoy coming from Jammu to Srinagar was ambushed by militants on the highway in Bijbehara town of Anantnag district".
Militant outfit Hizb-ul-Mujhadeen claimed the responsibility of the attack. Its operational spokesperson Burhanuddin told a local news agency that "several Indian troopers were killed in the attack carried out by a special squad of the outfit".
“Besides the death of these troopers, many more were critically injured,” he said, vowing “the attacks on the security establishments will continue”.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti strongly condemned the militant attack in her home town.
Immediately after the attack, she spoke to Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF) K.K. Sharma and expressed anguish and sorrow over the death of three personnel in the attack.
Following the attack, heavy exchange of fire took place in the town situated on the 300-km Jammu-Srinagar National Highway No.1A, according to eyewitnesses.
The injured BSF troopers were shifted to a Srinagar hospital, the police sources added.
The attackers were holed up inside the government sub-district hospital building, who later were believed to have fled the spot.
The eyewitnesses said security forces immediately cordoned off the area after the attack which sparked panic in the area, however, the traffic on the busy national highway was later restored.
"Such senseless attack is a desperate attempt by the elements inimical to peace to derail the peace efforts of the government and subvert the rejuvenating economic activity in the state," Mehbooba Mufti said in a statement.
Mufti said the elements inimical to interests of Jammu and Kashmir have always tried to derail the peace efforts and the latest militant strike was again aimed at subverting the peace and development initiatives launched by her government.
She also said such dastardly attacks have only brought miseries to the people and tragedies for the victim families, both security forces personnel and the civilians.
The chief minister while expressing solidarity with the bereaved families of the security forces personnel, said: "I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in the attack."