At least 18 Indian paramilitary officers have been killed in a suicide attack on a vehicle convoy in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Police told the BBC that a car filled with explosives rammed a bus carrying the officers to Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir.

The Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammad has said it carried out the bombing.

It is the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades.

The blast took place on the heavily guarded Srinagar-Jammu highway about 20km (12 miles) from Srinagar city.

“It’s not yet clear how many vehicles were in the convoy that was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar. A car overtook the convoy and rammed into a bus with 44 personnel on board,” a senior police official told BBC Urdu’s Riyaz Masroor.

He said the death toll might increase because dozens are “critically injured”.

Two former chief ministers of the state, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have tweeted about the attack.

The AFP news agency said Jaish-e-Mohammad had sent a statement to local media saying it was behind the attack.

At least 17 Indian soldiers were killed when militants stormed a base in Uri in 2016. That was the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades and came amid violent protests against Indian rule. Delhi blamed the Pakistani state, which denied any involvement.

Both India and Pakistan claim all of Muslim-majority Kashmir but only control parts of it.

The two countries have fought three wars and a limited conflict – all but one were over Kashmir.

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BBC News – World