9 dead in Pakistan-Indian Kashmir border fire

4 civilians in Pakistan, 4 in Jammu and Kashmir, plus an Indian soldier, die in cross-border skirmish
SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir / KARACHI, Pakistan: Eight civilians and one Indian soldier were killed on Friday in cross-border fire along the line of control between India and Pakistan, according to officials on both sides.
Accusing India of an “unprovoked cease-fire violation,” the Pakistani army said that four civilians in Sialkot, in northeast Punjab, had died in an exchange of fire between border guards, including three children and a woman, and 10 people were injured.
“Intermittent fire continues,” it added.
Across the border, in Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, four civilians, including a couple, were killed by “heavy shelling” from Pakistan, and 12 others were injured, Arun Manhas, additional district development commissioner, told the media.
According to the Indian media, the slain soldier has been identified as a constable belonging to the 192nd Battalion of the Indian Border Security Forces.
Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is set to visit Kashmir on Saturday.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.
Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.–AA

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