'India shelling' kills two in Pakistan-administered Kashmir

Pakistan's army says at least 16 civilians have been killed by Indian gunfire across Line of Control this year.

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    'India shelling' kills two in Pakistan-administered Kashmir
    At least 40 Indian security forces personnel were killed in a suicide attack in the Indian-administered Kashmir in February [Younis Khaliq/Reuters]

    Islamabad, Pakistan - At least two people have been killed by Indian shelling across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Pakistan’s military has said.

    The shelling occurred in the Tatta Pani and Kot Kotera sectors along the de facto border that separates the two sides of Kashmir, the military's press wing said in a statement late on Sunday.

    Pakistani troops responded to the gunfire, the statement said, and intermittent crossfire continued through the night.

    The dead included a 12-year-old boy, the Pakistani statement said. A woman was also seriously wounded in the violence.

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    An Indian defence ministry spokesperson told the Press Trust of India news agency that Pakistani forces had fired across the LoC, but did not confirm any casualties in Indian-administered Kashmir.

    India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars since independence from the British in 1947 over the disputed region of Kashmir, which both claim in full but administer separate portions of.

    Kashmir attack

    An armed separatist movement has been fighting Indian security forces for the right to self-determination for Kashmiris since the 1990s. India accuses Pakistan of arming those groups and providing them with the resources to carry out attacks, a charge Pakistan denies.

    In February, at least 40 Indian security forces personnel were killed in a suicide attack in the Indian-administered Kashmir town of Pulwama, one of the deadliest such attacks in the region.

    India blamed Pakistan, carrying out airstrikes on a target in Pakistani territory that it said was a "training camp" for Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), an armed group based on Pakistani soil that claimed responsibility for the attack.

    That military action resulted in retaliatory strikes by Pakistan on Indian-administered territory, and an aerial dogfight that saw an Indian fighter jet shot down by Pakistani aircraft.

    The return of the Indian pilot two days later served to defuse tensions, but security postures in both countries remain high, with some Pakistani airspace restrictions for flights crossing through Indian airspace remaining in place.

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    This year, Pakistan says at least 16 civilians have been killed by Indian shelling and firing across the LoC, with more than 82 wounded.

    Last week, the United Nations listed Masood Azhar, the JeM chief, as a "global terrorist", subjecting him to sanctions including an assets freeze, international travel ban and an arms embargo.

    China, a key Pakistani ally, had blocked three previous attempts to sanction Azhar on technical grounds but withdrew its objections on May 1.

    Pakistan said it had withdrawn its objections to the request for listing after references to the conflict in Kashmir were amended in the listing criteria.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News