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Indian death toll in Kashmir cross-border firing hits six

Kashmir-bombIndia and Pakistan exchanged fire again overnight across their tense border in Kashmir as the death toll on the Indian side from weekend firing reached six, officials said Sunday.

Indian soldiers retaliated after coming under fire from Pakistani rockets in the Poonch sector, 320 kilometres (200 miles) south of the region’s main city of Srinagar, said Indian defence ministry spokesman Manish Mehta.

Three civilians including a woman died overnight in hospitals from injuries sustained in firing on Saturday, said Danesh Rana, inspector-general of police for the region.

Three others were killed on Saturday night when a mortar bomb fired from the Pakistani side hit their car in the Balakote area of the sector, Indian officials have said.

“The number of dead civilians is now six,” Rana told AFP.

Pakistan said on Saturday two male civilians were killed on its side in the latest firing, while a woman died on Friday.

India and Pakistan have for the past week been exchanging heavy intermittent fire almost daily across their de facto border known as the Line of Control in the disputed territory.

The incidents — violations of a 2003 ceasefire between the arch-rivals — resumed at the weekend even as the two countries celebrated the anniversary of independence from Britain in 1947.

Kashmir has been divided between the two countries since the end of British rule but is claimed in full by both. They have fought two wars over control of the Muslim-majority territory.

While relations between India and Pakistan remain chilly, their respective national security advisers are scheduled to meet in the Indian capital New Delhi on August 23 as a confidence-building measure.

Several rebel groups have for decades battled Indian forces deployed in Indian Kashmir, seeking either independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan.

The conflict has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead.

 



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