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June 11, 1999
Army mounts major offensive
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
The Indian Army's artillery units have mounted a massive offensive in Drass, Mushko valley and Tololing to further soften Pakistan-backed intruders' positions.
Sources in Srinagar said that the army has been pounding the positions for the past 24 hours and there has been some success.
Before the artillery units had set out for the final assault, the positions were attacked by the Indian Air Force fighter planes.
To further intensify the ground offensive, the defence authorities have been rushing more and more artillery equipment to Drass, Kargil and other areas.
"It is the artillery units which will target the positions of the intruders before the ground troops begin their final assault," said the sources.
The army has also been rushing reinforcements to Sonamarg and other areas.
Official sources said that the state government wants to rush supplies to the Ladakh region at the earliest. They, however, admitted that in view of the continued shelling of the Srinagar-Leh highway the task has become difficult. They were hopeful that the highway would be opened for civilian traffic soon.
The defence sources said that the air strikes were now being carried out in select areas in view of the forward movement of the infantry.
Sources admitted that the number of the militants in some areas of Drass had increased in the last two weeks. "Efforts are continuing to completely cut off their supply lines,'' they said.
Meanwhile, the army has beefed up security on the Srinagar-Kargil highway following a massive blast on Tuesday evening. All passing vehicles are being thoroughly checked.
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