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Soldiers die in Kashmir avalanches

Two massive avalanches in Indian-controlled Kashmir have killed at least 11 soldiers and eight others are feared trapped in a military camp that was partially buried under snow, an official said.

Colonel KS Grewal said three of the soldiers were killed in the mountainous area of Sonamarg and eight more at a large army camp in Dawar, a town close to the heavily militarised ceasefire line that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of Indian troops are stationed along the de-facto border.

Rescue workers in Dawar pulled out 13 survivors who were being treated at a local army hospital, Col Grewal said. Eight soldiers there were still believed to be trapped under the snow, he added.

Dawar, in the frontier Gurez region, is cut off from the rest of Kashmir for nearly five months every year as heavy snow and rain blocks roads to the region.

Army rescue teams from other parts of the region were trying to reach the Dawar army camp but were delayed by heavy fog, snow and cloud cover, Col Grewal said.

Amir Ali, a state government disaster management official, warned of more avalanches across mountainous parts of Indian Kashmir.

Last month, an avalanche killed seven soldiers as they were clearing an army supply road, and in 2010, 17 soldiers died when a wall of snow and ice slammed into the army's High Altitude Warfare School in Kashmir.

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