Four policemen were killed in an improvised explosive device blast in Jammu and Kashmir’s Sopore town in Baramulla district , PTI reported. Militant outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad is believed to have claimed responsibility for the attack, but the police said they have yet to verify this claim.
Two policemen were seriously injured in the explosion. Three shops in the area were destroyed in the blast. All the officers were from the 3rd Battalion of Indian Reserve Police.
“The policemen were deployed in the run up to Republic Day when there was a strong explosion around 10.20 am,” Deputy Inspector General of Police (North Kashmir) told the Hindustan Times.
The attack took place the day Sopore was observing a complete shutdown to mark the 25th anniversary of the deaths of 57 people, who were killed in firing by security forces in 1993. Security was heightened the town to maintain law and order after separatists called for a shutdown.
The wreath laying ceremonies of the four officers was held in Sopore amid tight security.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed her condolences over the deaths. “Pained to hear that four policeman have been killed in an IED explosion in Sopore. My deepest condolences to their families,” she said on Twitter.
Jammu and Kashmir Police chief Muneer Ahmad Khan told the media that there was a “new hand” involved in the Sopore explosion that has made them review their strategy to tackle the challenge of IED blasts, Greater Kashmir reported. He said Saturday’s blast was the first incident involving an IED since 2015.