In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said "The United States and India will continue to fight together against terrorist threats in every part of the world" while extending condolences to the victims' families. Last month, when PM Modi visited the White House in Washington, US President Donald Trump and he had struck a common note on terrorism, saying eliminating it is among the top-most priorities for the two nations.
The police in Kashmir say the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the attack and the mastermind is a Pakistani terrorist, Abu Ismail. A search is currently on for the 26-year-old Pakistani national infiltrated into India about two years ago and has been operating in south Kashmir.
The bus, which had pilgrims from Gujarat and Maharashtra, was on its way back from the Amarnath shrine located in a narrow gorge at the end of a valley nearly 50 km from Pahalgam. Police sources say the rules of the pilgrimage bans buses from travelling on a highway after 7 pm for security reasons but the bus had been delayed because of a breakdown. The bus was also reportedly not part of the official tour, which means that it did not have the standard police escort.
About 100,000 pilgrims have already completed the journey to the Amarnath shrine that began late last month and is due to end in late August. The journey begins from Jammu, which is 200 km from the shrine.
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