Pakistan rejects charges, denies any link with Pulwama attack

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption The blast took place on a heavily guarded highway

"There were 70 vehicles in the convoy and one of the vehicles came under attack".

CNN's New Delhi Bureau Chief Nikhil Kumar and Swati Gupta reported and wrote from New Delhi, CNN's Mukhtar Ahmed reported from Srinagar, India.

PM Narendra Modi posted a tweet on the incident, stating that the "attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama is despicable".

The bus was part of a 78-vehicle convoy that was travelling on the the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama district.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi said he is deeply disturbed by the cowardly attack on a CRPF convoy.

"It was a powerful explosion".

Unconfirmed photos showed the charred remains of at least one vehicle littered across the highway as black smoke billowed upwards.

According to sources, the terrorists used a black SUV carrying 350 kgs of explosives.

The Greater Kashmir newspaper reported that militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attack. A fidayeen (suicide bomber), also a local boy (Adil Ahmad Dar alias Waqas Commando from Kakapora village in Pulwama), inflicting extensive damage. "It is hard to believe how anyone in that bus could have survived", said a police officer.

The attack may also put pressure on China, a close ally of Pakistan, to alter its "indefensible position" at the United Nations Security Council, where Beijing has blocked India's attempts to list Jaish-e-Mohammed and Azhar as globally proscribed terrorists, Ayres said. The target was the local parliament building in Srinagar.

In a tweet, Singh said, "Today's dastardly attack on CRPF in Pulwama (J&K) is extremely painful and disturbing".

State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said Washington was "resolutely committed to working with the Indian government to combat terrorism in all its forms".

In an attack on the Uri military base in September 2016, Jaish militants killed 18 Army jawans and injured dozens of others.

The Indian government accused Pakistan of letting militant groups operate from its soil and called on it to take action. The explosion was heard up to 12 kilometres away, it said.

India s foreign ministry, in a statement late Thursday, blamed Pakistan.

"India is firmly and resolutely committed to take all necessary measures to safeguard national security. We demand that Pakistan stop supporting terrorists and terror groups operating from their territory and dismantle the infrastructure operated by terrorist outfits to launch attacks in other countries", it added.

The outfit grew into such a headache for the India that nearly every big attack on the Indian security establishment since the early 2000s can be traced back to it. Pakistan, however, was forced to ban Jaish in January 2002, a month after the USA declared it a terrorist organisation.

India and Pakistan each claim the divided territory of Kashmir in its entirety. He had joined the terror group past year. Islamabad says it only offers moral and diplomatic support to Muslim Kashmiris in their struggle for self-determination.

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