At least three Pakistani soldiers have been killed by Indian border forces in Kashmir, according to officials in Islamabad, while an equal number of Indian troops and one suspected rebel were gunned down in separate clashes.

The Pakistani troops died early on Tuesday after being wounded overnight, Pakistan's army said in a statement, adding that Indian troops had fired across the Line of Control, a de facto frontier that divides the Himalayan valley between the two countries.

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Hours later, three Indian soldiers were killed in a gun battle with suspected rebels in India-administered Kashmir.

One suspected rebel also died in the clash in Bandipora district, the Indian army's Northern Command said.

Renewed violence

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since they won independence from Britain in 1947. Both claim the territory in its entirety.

Several rebel groups have for decades fought the 500,000 Indian troops deployed in the region, demanding independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan.

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

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The latest violence came three days after four suspected rebels, a civilian and three soldiers, were killed in south Kashmir, sparking pro-independence demonstrations that were put down with live ammunition and pellet guns, wounding more than two dozen people.

The disputed region has seen renewed protests and attacks following the killing of a popular rebel commander in July last year.

At least 100 civilians have been killed in the subsequent crackdown, according to health officials.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies