Four killed, 23 injured in Kashmir shelling
An exchange of fire between forces from India and Pakistan along the Kashmir border region has killed at least four civilians and injured 23 others.
Danish Rana, a top police officer in Indian-controlled Kashmir, said that three civilians were killed in the Balakot sector. Twenty others have been wounded in the fighting, which is reported to be still ongoing.
“The three died when their car was hit by a shell fired from the Pakistani side. Twenty are injured, some of them had to be flown to a hospital in Jammu,” inspector general of police for the region Danesh Rana told AFP.
On the other side of the Line of Control between the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir, Pakistan’s army said in a statement that one civilian was killed and three others wounded.
India and Pakistan blame one another for the violence.
Indian army spokesman Lt. Col. Manish Mehta said Pakistani soldiers had first fired mortars and gunfire without any provocation in the region. Pakistan’s army said India had initiated “unprovoked” firing and “Pakistani troops befittingly responded.”
The two neighboring nuclear powers have a decades-long history of disputes and regularly exchange fire over the LoC.
India and Pakistan both claim the entirety of Kashmir and have fought two of their three wars over the region.
Kashmir is currently divided between India and Pakistan by the 740-km (460-mile) LoC, which is the de facto borderline, originally known as the Cease-fire Line. However, the line does not constitute a legally recognized international boundary.