Pakistan says seven troops killed in cross-border fire

Pakistan accuses India of firing across disputed Kashmir border, as tension between the neighbours escalate

India-Pakistan international border in Kashmir
There have been repeated outbreaks of cross-border fire in the disputed Kashmir area since September [EPA]

The Pakistani military has accused India of killing seven soldiers in cross-border fire in the disputed Kashmir border, where tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours have surged in recent months.

There was no immediate response to the accusation from Indian officials. 

The Pakistani military media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in a statement on Monday that the soldiers were killed in the Bhimber sector on the Line of Control or LOC, which is the de facto border separating the two South Asian rivals.

“Seven [Pakistani] soldiers embraced shahadat [martyrdom] at the Line of Control in Bhimber sector in a crossfire LOC violation by Indian troops late last night,” the military said in a statement.

“Pakistani troops, while responding to Indian unprovoked firing, targeted Indian posts effectively.”

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said the incident was “quite serious” as Pakistan’s military said it had responded to the firing.

“Pakistan’s military has said that they have come under unprovoked firing from the Indian side and that they have responded to the Indian fire,” our correspondent said. 

“However, it is not yet clear whether there are casualties on the other [Indian] side as well.”

Tensions across the long-disputed de facto Himalayan border reached dangerous levels in September, when India blamed Pakistani fighters for a raid on an army base that killed 19 soldiers.

India said it had responded by carrying out “surgical strikes” across the border, although Islamabad denied the strikes happened.

There have since been repeated outbreaks of cross-border fire, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries, including of many civilians.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in full and have fought two wars over the mountainous region.

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies