The February 14, 2019, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) strike on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama, which led to India retaliating with an attack on a terror camp in Balakot later that month and the subsequent dogfight between the air forces of India and Pakistan, was originally set to be carried out in the first week of February.
All the preparations were made, the explosives were procured and armed, but weather conditions forced a suspension of the convoy movements, and JeM terrorists had to wait until the next CRPF convoy passed on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.
This revelation is part of the new information that has been gleaned by sleuths from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) while interrogating Shakir Bashir Magrey, the first person to be arrested last Friday in connection with the deadly terror attack that claimed 40 lives, according to two senior officials who spoke to HT on condition of anonymity.
“The disclosures made by Shakir Magrey are important as he is the first person to be arrested who knew everything from planning to execution, including arranging the bomb, helping in fitting it and sheltering the bomber, Adeel Ahmad Dar. This also clearly shows how the Pakistan-based terror group was specifically targeting convoys. We will now be able to file a charge sheet in the Pulwama attack,” one of the officials said.
The bomber who carried out the attack, Adeel Ahmad Dar, was killed in the suicide attack, and the NIA on Tuesday arrested two other people in connection with the case — the father-daughter duo of Tariq Ahmad Shah (50) and Insha Jan (23) — who allegedly sheltered the JeM terrorists and their local contacts. They will be interrogated over the next few days, the officials cited above said.