Highlights

  • Kashmir: mysterious fire in private car carrying 3 soldiers
  • Incident days after fire on Vaishno Devi pilgrims' bus
  • Security forces increasingly worried about 'sticky bombs'

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Explained: sticky bomb threat in Kashmir; how they are made & used; the Taliban, ISIS link

Sticky bombs are worrisome because of the ease with which they can be planted at targets. One trick is to distract the driver of the target car at traffic light stops etc, while another person sticks the bomb to the vehicle.

Another mysterious blast in Jammu and Kashmir, days after a deadly fire on a bus carrying Vaishno Devi pilgrims. A car carrying 3 soldiers erupted in flames on June 2 in Shopian.

The latest incident comes amid the mounting threat of sticky bombs in Jammu and Kashmir. So, what are sticky bombs? Why is their use worrying security forces? Is this the start of a new, sinister chapter in the decades-old militancy in Kashmir?

Sticky bombs are explosives packed into a small box. Then, magnets are fixed to the box so that it can stick to metal surfaces, like vehicles. The bomb can then be retrofitted with timer or mobile phone. A timer can give the attacker a few minutes to escape before the explosion. If a mobile phone is attached, to the bomb, then attackers gain remote control. When the number of the phone is dialled, the bomb is triggered. This type of a sticky bomb is considered cheaper than many other explosive devices.

ALSO WATCH | Pakistani drone carrying sticky bombs shot down in Jammu: threat to Amarnath Yatra averted?

The introduction of sticky bombs in Kashmir is alarming due to their widespread and devastating use in Afghanistan. Such explosive devices were frequently used by Taliban fighters against Afghan government and Western forces. Subsequently, the strategy was adopted by Islamic State terrorists against Taliban, and minority communities. In December 2020, a sticky bomb attack reportedly killed Kabul’s deputy provincial governor. In June 2021, ISIS claimed responsibility for blasts in 2 cars in Shiite neighbourhood which killed at least 7.

Sticky bombs are worrisome because of the ease with which they can be planted at targets. One trick is to distract the driver of the target car at traffic light stops etc, while another person sticks the bomb to the vehicle. Another trick seen in Afghanistan is that attackers drive in front of the target car, then throw the bomb on the road and trigger it as soon as the target car passes over it.

The mastermind pushing sticky bombs into Kashmir is clear. On May 27, a drone from Pakistan carrying 7 sticky bombs was shot down in Kathua. Days earlier, on May 13, a sticky bomb might have been used to attack Vaishno Devi pilgrims. On April 28, a sticky bomb was found just in time at Sidhra bypass near Jammu, averting a tragedy. In August 2021, four sticky bombs were allegedly found with a man in Poonch, as per reports.

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