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Pakistani soldiers killed in Kashmir firing

Two killed and three wounded in "unprovoked" shelling in disputed region, army says.

Last Modified: 22 Aug 2013 16:32
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Two Pakistani soldiers have been killed and three others wounded after exchange of fire at two different places across the de-facto border with India in the disputed region of Kashmir, the Pakistani military says.

The first incident occurred in the Rakhchakri sector, near Rawalakot, on Thursday in which a soldier was killed and another wounded. 

The Pakistani military said that the Indian shelling was "unprovoked", and took place in an area about 130km away from the capital, Islamabad.

Another Pakistani soldier was killed and two others injured in Indian firing at Tata Pani area, or the Hot Springs, along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. Pakistani troops said they responded to the firing with its own guns.

A day earlier, Pakistan said an army officer was killed and a soldier wounded due to unprovoked Indian shelling at Shakma sector near Skardu in Gigit Baltistan province on the LoC.

According to Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, the first firing incident happened as the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was chairing a high-level meeting to discuss the escalation in ceasefire violations across the LoC.

A series of clashes that began this month has undermined a push by Pakistan's new civilian government to improve ties with India.

The violence came two weeks after the killing of five Indian soldiers along the LoC that separates the two sides in the Himalayan region.

India said they were killed by Pakistani forces, but Pakistan denied involvement.

The nuclear-armed rivals have fought three wars since 1947, two of them over Kashmir. Both control a part of the Muslim-majority region but claim it in full.

A truce along their Kashmir border has held for nearly a decade, even though it has been broken every now and then by tit-for-tat artillery fire and an occasional cross-border ambush.

India has faced an insurgency in its part of Kashmir since 1989 and has long accused Pakistan of supporting the gunmen fighting Indian rule.

Pakistan denies arming the fighters, saying it only offers moral support to the Muslim people of Kashmir, who are living under what Pakistan characterises as harsh Indian rule.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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