Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday averted a 2019 Pulwama-type attack when they chased and seized a car laden with about 45 kg of explosives in the south Kashmir district, officials said.
Inspector General of Police (Kashmir range) Vijay Kumar told reporters there were intelligence inputs about plans of banned Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammed terror groups to repeat an attack similar to last year's February 14 strike on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy that left 40 personnel dead.
"The police had intelligence inputs for past one week that Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists had plans to launch a big strike using a suicide bomber and car bomb to target security forces.
"Based on these inputs, checkposts were placed in Pulwama by the security forces on Wednesday," he told reporters Srinagar.
Unfolding the sequence of events, Kumar said on Wednesday evening when the suspected car, which police claimed to have all inputs, was spotted approaching a check post, it was signalled to stop.
However, its driver turned the car in a different direction and fled from the scene before being trapped at another check post.
"At another check post, the forces again fired some warning shots and the terrorist fled from the spot, taking advantage of darkness, and left the car behind.
"The forces used lights to check the vehicle from a distance after finding something suspicious. We tightened the cordon and waited for the first light of the day.
"This morning, a bomb disposal squad reached the spot and saw the vehicle was laden with explosives. The IED was defused in a technical way by the police, army and paramilitary CRPF.
"The Pulwama police, with the help of security forces, have averted a major tragedy and I congratulate all of the forces," he said.
Images taken by drones were also shared with the media about the controlled explosion of the car carrying 45 kg of explosives.
The IGP said that a man named Adil, who works for both the terror groups, is believed to be one of the planners. The number plate used on the car actually was that of a motorcycle.
The IGP said the police had inputs that JeM was planning to launch such an attack on the anniversary of Jang-e-Badr day -- the 17th day of Muslim fasting month of Ramzan -- but could not undertake it then because the forces had taken pre-emptive measures.
"However, the input got developed on Wednesday and we suspect Adil, who is a Hizbul terrorist but also works with JeM, and Fauji bhai, a Pakistani militant and JeM commander in Pulwama are involved in the planning of the attack," he said.
Kumar said the terrorists were planning to target the security forces vehicles using about 40-45 kgs of explosives in the same manner as the February 14, 2019 Awantipora attack.
"We are calling an expert team to investigate it. Since the explosive debris went up about 50 metres in the air, it seems that the weight of the explosives would have been about 40-45 kg," he said.