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Pakistan, India trade fire in Kashmir; 4 civilians killed

AP , Wednesday 16 Oct 2019
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Pakistani and Indian troops traded fire in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir on Wednesday, killing four civilians and wounding nearly a dozen others, officials from both sides said, as tensions remain high between the two South Asian countries.

Kashmir is split between Pakistan and India and claimed by both countries in its entirety. They have fought two wars over the province.

India sparked a new round of tensions in August, when it downgraded the autonomy of its side of Kashmir and imposed tighter controls on the area.

On Wednesday, Pakistan's foreign ministry said it summoned an Indian diplomat to lodge its protest over the previous day's ``ceasefire violations'' that killed three civilians, including two children on the Pakistani side of the contested Kashmir border.

In neighboring India, Lt. Col. Devender Anand, an army spokesman, said Pakistan fired at two dozen Indian army posts along the highly militarized Poonch sector Monday and Tuesday. He said Pakistani troops used mortar and machine-guns and targeted several villages as well.

Anand blamed Pakistan for initiating the fire and said their troops ``befittingly'' responded to what he called a series of unprovoked cease-fire violations. Earlier, an Indian civil administrator, Rahul Yadav, said that a young woman and several cattle were killed due to Pakistani firing in the Poonch sector Tuesday.

Also Wednesday, Indian police officer Parvaiz Ahmed said Indian security forces killed three militants in an exchange of gunfire in southern Kashmir, following intelligence that a group of militants was hiding in the town Bijbehara town.

Indian-administered Kashmir has experienced unrest and sporadic anti-government protests since New Delhi revoked its special status.

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