21/10/2019 9:40 AM IST | Updated 21/10/2019 1:32 PM IST

9 People Killed On Both Sides After India-Pakistan Exchange Fire Along Line Of Control

Indian military said Pakistani soldiers targeted an Indian border post and civilian areas along the Line of Control in Kashmir on Sunday.

File Photo/ Reuters
Indian BSF soldiers patrol over a footbridge near the Line of Control (LoC) at Sabjiyan sector of Poonch district, in this August 8, 2013 file picture. 

SRINAGAR — Pakistani and Indian soldiers traded fire in Kashmir on Sunday, killing at least nine people on both sides, officials said.

The Indian military said Pakistani soldiers targeted an Indian border post and civilian areas along the Line of Control in Kashmir early in the day, leaving two army soldiers and a civilian dead.

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Col. Rajesh Kalia, an Indian army spokesman, said three Indian civilians were also injured in the Pakistani firing. Kalia called it an “unprovoked” violation of a 2003 cease-fire accord between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan’s army later said that “unprovoked cease-fire violations” by Indian troops killed five civilians and one soldier and wounded another three civilians and two troops across the Line of Control.

The army said Indian troops targeted civilians in Jura, Shahkot and Nousehri sectors. It said Pakistani forces responded with heavy fire on Indian soldiers.

The renewed fighting comes amid an ongoing lockdown in Kashmir that was put in place after India stripped the region of its semi-autonomy in early August.

Since then, soldiers from the two nations have regularly engaged in cross-border shelling and firing along the LoC in Kashmir.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training anti-India militants and also helping them by providing gunfire as cover for incursions into the Indian side. Pakistan denies this, saying it offers only moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris who oppose Indian rule.

On Aug. 5, India’s BJP-led government stripped Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status and imposed a strict crackdown, sending in tens of thousands more additional troops to the region, which is already one of the highest militarized zones in the world. India has arrested thousands of activists and separatist leaders in the days leading up to and after the revoking of Kashmir’s special status.

More than two months later, the region remains under a communications blockade. Authorities have restored landline and some cellphone services, but the internet remains suspended.

Associated Press writer Zarar Khan in Islamabad contributed to this report.