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Death toll in Kashmir avalanches climbs to 19

The death toll in avalanches in the heavily militarised Himalayan region of Kashmir has risen to 19 after the bodies of four more Indian soldiers were recovered on Friday, army and police officials said.

Kashmir has seen heavy snow this week and authorities have warned of the “high danger” of avalanches over the next two days. Power and communication lines have also been cut in some areas.

The army recovered the bodies of the four soldiers who had been patrolling near the Line of Control that divides the territory when the snowslide struck on Wednesday, bringing the military toll to 15, said spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia.

Four civilians who were also killed included two children from a family whose house was hit by a separate avalanche on Wednesday.

More avalanches hit the region on Thursday, although there were no reports of further casualties.

In 2012, a massive avalanche in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir killed 140 people, including 129 soldiers.

Kashmir, divided between the India and Pakistan, has long been a source of tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours. (Reuters)

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