Five Indians killed in cross-border shelling by Pakistani troops

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ATTENTION – VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH People shift a woman, who according to local media was injured in what they say was a ceasefire violation by the Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LOC) in Poonch district, towards a government hospital in Jammu, March 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

SRINAGAR/MUZZAFARABAD – Five members of an Indian family were killed and two injured by shelling from Pakistani troops on Sunday along the Line of Control, the de facto border between India and Pakistan, according to army and police officials.

Both sides were engaging in heavy shelling despite a 15-year-old ceasefire between the nuclear-armed rivals in the area, the officials said.

Nine people were also wounded across the border in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir due to the shelling from India that began late Saturday night, Pakistani officials said on Sunday.

Tension has been running high since an attack on an Indian army camp in India-controlled Kashmir last month in which six soldiers were killed. India blamed Pakistan for the attack and said it would make its rival pay for the “misadventure”.

The South Asian neighbours have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part.

Indian Defence spokesman Lt. Col. Devender Anand said on Sunday that Pakistani troops started the shelling around 7:45 in the morning.

“They are specifically targeting civilian areas,” Anand said. “Army troops retaliated strongly and effectively to silence Pakistani guns.”

Director General of Indian Police in Kashmir, S. P. Vaid said the five people were killed in the village of Devta Dhar when a shell hit the house of Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan.

Ramzan, 45, his wife Malka Bi, 45, and three sons – Muhammad Rehman, 19, Muhammad Rizwan, 18, and Muhammad Razaq, 8 all died, Vaid said.

Two of Ramzan’s daughters – Nooren Akhtar, 14, and Marin Akhtar, 7, were critically injured in the incident and were airlifted to a hospital in Jammu, Vaid said.