DRASS, July 2 (1999): Indian artillery units in northern Kashmir began a major bombardment Friday ahead of what was expected to be the largest ground assault so far against Islamic militant infiltrators.
Military sources here said the barrage was the first stage in a planned weekend assault on the strategic Tiger Hills area, close to the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Indian and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.
The attack on Tiger Hills is expected to mark a turning point in India’s seven-week operation to evict the guerrillas who crossed the LoC in early May and set up hill-top bunkers in Indian territory.
Tiger Hills’ strategic importance lies in its dominance of the main Srinagar-Ley highway, which is the lifeline for the Indian troops fighting in Kashmir.
As many as 140 Bofors 155mm guns, many of them brought in from other areas of fighting along the LoC, pounded the 15,140-foot (4,590 metre) high glaciated peak in Friday’s barrage.
Military officials said air strikes were planned for later in the day, with intitial ground assaults expected to begin Saturday.
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