Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A suicide bomber attacked a security convoy in India Thursday in the Jammu and Kashmir region, killing at least 36 people, officials said.
Thousands of Central Reserve Police Force personnel were traveling in a convoy through Awantipora when the bomber rammed a vehicle full of explosives into one of the buses.
More than 20 people were injured and officials said the death toll could rise. The bus, part of the 76th battalion, was reduced to a mangled heap of metal. Those on board were returning from leave and bound for Srinagar.
Terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack. The suicide bomber was identified as Adil Ahmad from Kakapora, who joined JeM in 2018.
Gov. Satya Pal Malik said he prayed for those injured by the terrorist attack, which he said appeared to be guided from Pakistan. JeM has been actively fighting in the disputed Kashmir region for decades.
"Such actions will not deter the resolve of our security forces and people, and we will finish these inimical forces to the last," Malik said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the attack "despicable."
"I strongly condemn this dastardly attack. The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of the brave martyrs," Modi said. "May the injured recover quickly."
The attack is one of the deadliest terror strikes to hit the region in recent years.