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11 killed in avalanche in Kashmir

11 KILLED IN AVALANCHE IN KASHMIR

An avalanche in Jammu Kashmir claimed at least 11 lives, including one child, officials confirmed on Saturday.

Three people, including a 7-year-old, were also rescued one day after the Friday avalanche in the region's northwest Tangdhar, Kupwara district.

An officer of the Indian Border Roads Organisation (BRO) was among those killed after his vehicle was swept away in the avalanche at Sadna Top, a dangerous ascent point along the Kupwara-Tangdhar highway.

A passenger vehicle carrying seven people was also swept away in the avalanche at the same spot on Friday.

"The search operation concluded on Saturday evening, and we recovered 10 bodies. One little girl, around 2 years old girl, is among the dead," Waseem Ahmad, station house officer (SHO) at Kralpora, Kupwara, told reporters.

On Dec. 21, Kashmir entered its harshest phase of winter -- a period of 40 days called the chillai kalan.

Officials said that the sub-zero temperatures and looming possibility of further avalanches make rescue operations difficult.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

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