Indian and Pakistani soldiers have again targeted each other’s posts and villages along their volatile frontier in disputed Kashmir, killing at least six civilians and two Pakistani troops, officials said Saturday.
Tensions have run high since Indian aircraft crossed into Pakistan this past Tuesday, carrying out what India called a preemptive strike against militants blamed for a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops. Pakistan retaliated, shooting down a fighter jet Wednesday and detaining its pilot, who was returned to India on Friday in a peace gesture.
Fighting resumed overnight Friday. Pakistan’s military said two of its soldiers were killed in an exchange of fire with Indian forces near the Line of Control that separates Kashmir between the rivals.
It marked the first fatalities for Pakistani troops since Wednesday, when tensions dramatically escalated between the nuclear-armed countries over Kashmir, which is split between them but claimed by both in its entirety.
Indian police, meanwhile, said two siblings and their mother were killed in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The three died after a shell fired by Pakistani soldiers hit their home near the Line of Control. The children’s father was critically wounded.
In Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, government official Umar Azam said Indian troops with heavy weapons “indiscriminately targeted border villagers” along the Line of Control, killing a boy and wounding three other people. He said several homes were destroyed by Indian shelling.
Following a short lull, shelling and firing of small arms resumed Saturday. A Pakistani military statement said two civilians were killed and two others wounded in the fresh fighting. The Indian army said Pakistani troops attacked Indian posts at several places along the militarized line.
Meanwhile, Indian police said two paramilitary soldiers and two counterinsurgency police officials were killed in a gunbattle with militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir, while troops fatally shot a civilian during anti-India protests.