U.S. condemns terrorist attack on Amarnath pilgrims

U.S. condemns terrorist attack on Amarnath pilgrims

The Congress Party on Wednesday condemned the terror attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district and called for unity to combat the threat of terrorism.

Unidentified terrorists reportedly opened fire on a police vehicle at around 8 pm on July 10.

The police say that the terrorists who were on bikes had attacked the bus twice.

The officer said the militants first attacked a police bullet proof bunker at Khanabal and later a police check point."After retaliation from the police, the militants started firing indiscriminately".

Sharma also conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family while saying that the state and central government should ensure security for the pilgrims. Feroze Mithiborwala, one of the organisers, said, "The protest is being held to condemn the Amarnath terror attack on Hindu pilgrims".

"The terrorist attack on Amarnath Pilgrims is outrageous", wrote Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX 18 District). The Kashmir Police is of the belief more so because, a day before the attack a major group of Lashkar militants was raided.

The bus full of pilgrims was 600 metres away from the police check-post an was encircled by the terrorists from three sides.

On June 27, the United States designated Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin a "global terrorist", ahead of Narendra Modi's meeting with US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC. The bus was registered as part of the convoy of pilgrimage buses for the onward journey through Baltal base camp, but did not register for the return journey.

"This incident goes against the very grain of Kashmiri ethos", separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Farooq and Yasin Malik said in a joint statement. India also blames the group for a 2008 attack that left 166 people dead in India's commercial capital of Mumbai. "We have high degree of security for passage of convoy of the Amarnath yatra", Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Zone, Mandeep Bhandari said.

The attack breaks an unspoken code of not harming the pilgrims, and, therefore, the state's tourism-dependant economy, and is a signal that Pakistan is upping the ante, added Gurmeet Kanwal, defence expert at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis.

The last major attack on pilgrims in the area was carried out in August 2002, in which nine people were killed in Pahalgam.

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