17 dead in India-Pakistan border dispute firing

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ISLAMABAD: The death toll from cross-border skirmishes between India and Pakistan climbed to at least 17 on Thursday after Islamabad confirmed five additional fatalities.

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The toll on the Pakistani side doubled, with 10 civilians killed in firing across parts of the disputed northern Kashmir region and eastern Punjab province, an army statement said.

“Indian troops are repeatedly resorting to unprovoked firing all along working boundary and LOC [Line of Control], which has resulted in the loss of 10 Pakistani citizens and injuring 42 others,” the statement said.

The Line of Control is the de facto border between the two countries in Kashmir.

“Pakistani troops are befittingly responding to Indian violations. Every fire coming from across LOC or working boundary is being met with an effective response,” the statement added.

New Delhi has so far confirmed seven civilian deaths in India.

Thousands of people on both sides of the border have fled their homes to escape shelling from Pakistan and Indian troops, marring Eid ul-Adha celebrations in the predominantly Muslim region.

Fighting between Indian forces and rebels seeking independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan has killed tens of thousands—mostly civilians—since 1989.

The two countries have gone to war over the territory twice, in 1947 and 1965, and fought a smaller scale conflict in 1999.

AFP

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