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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

12 Indian Army personnel killed in two avalanches in Kashmir Valley

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Feb 23, IRNA -- Twelve Indian Army personnel were killed while seven others were feared dead as avalanches struck two Army camps in Ganderbal and Bandipora districts of Kashmir Valley.

As many as 13 personnel were rescued, two of them injured, from the debris of the avalanche that hit the 109 infantry Brigade in Dawar area of Gurez -- close to the Line of Control -- in Bandipora, Army officials said.

Seven personnel are still missing and feared to be trapped under the debris of the avalanche which struck last night.

Army spokesman Colonel Garewal said 29 jawans were buried under the avalanche. 'Nine bodies have been recovered while 13 others were rescued. Seven personnel are still missing,' he said.

Defence Spokesman Lt Colonel J S Brar said it was for the first time that an avalanche has hit the spot. 'There are no records of an avalanche hitting this place earlier,' he said.

Another avalanche struck the camp of 162 Territorial Army in Sonamarg area of Ganderbal district last evening, killing three Army jawans, the spokesman said.

Colonel Garewal said the bodies of the deceased jawans have been recovered and the rescue-cum-search operation has been called off at Sonamarg. 'There are no missing personnel in the Sonamarg incident,' he said.

Heavy snowfall across Kashmir Valley, particularly in areas close to Line of Control, had prompted authorities to issue an avalanche warning for most areas lying close to the mountains.

Based on inputs provided by the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), the state disaster management cell had been issuing daily avalanche warnings for the past 14 days for areas located 6000 feet and above from sea level.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80002250

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