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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Indian Dead Removed as Fresh Peak Captured




DRAS, India -- Indian soldiers towed the bodies of their fallen comrades down vertical, snow frosted cliffs Wednesday and captured another peak in their seven-week battle to push Pakistani fighters off the Himalayan mountaintops of Kashmir.


The Indian and Pakistani directors of military operations are in touch with each other, but no proposals have been made for withdrawal of the troops, Indian Foreign Office spokesman R.S. Jassal told reporters in New Delhi.


After a night of severe artillery shelling and gun battles, officers said the Indian army on Wednesday captured a 5,100-meter peak, the last height on a ridgeline leading to the strategic Tiger Hill, which overlooks the only highway in Indian-controlled Kashmir.


The victory came as soldiers collected their dead from Tuesday's battle for the previous promontory, Peak 4,700, known by its height in meters, when 25 Indians were reported killed and 40 wounded in the bloodiest one-day battle since the fighting began in May.


Meanwhile, Islamic guerrillas surrounded sleeping construction workers, both Hindus and Muslims, in Jammu-Kashmir and shot and killed 13 of them, police said Wednesday.


The attack at a brick factory was carried out late Tuesday in the mountainous Bulbul Nowgam village, 625 kilometers north of New Delhi.


None of the nearly dozen guerrilla groups fighting Indian forces in Kashmir claimed responsibility for the attack.


Army spokesman Colonel Bikram Singh said in New Delhi that there have been 201 Indian soldiers killed, 384 wounded and nine missing since India began fighting in early May to reclaim the heights in Kashmir from fighters its says crossed a 1972 cease-fire line.


Although India and Pakistan claim all of the region, it has been divided since independence from Britain in 1947 and the focus of two wars since then.


The armies of the two nuclear-armed neighbors have exchanged fire all along the cease-fire line while Indian jets bomb the intruders' stone and cement mountaintop bunkers and the Indian infantry, facing withering machine-gun a nd artillery fire, crawls up one peak after another.


The assault on Tiger Hill, expected within days, involves an attack against at least 25 guerrillas, who have been recently reinforced and resupplied by mule trains and pony caravans carrying ammunition, food and fighters, Indian forward observation posts reported.