Four soldiers of the Indian Army, a Border Security Force (BSF) sub-inspector, and six civilians were killed and at least 10, including five security personnel, injured after Indian and Pakistani security forces exchanged mortar and small arms fire in at least three places along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, said sources. The exchange was going on along almost all of the LoC in Kashmir.
The maximum damage was done in Uri where two civilians, including a woman and two soldiers, were killed in Pakistani shelling. In Nowgam sector, a BSF sub-inspector was killed while three civilians and two soldiers were injured in Tangdhar sector. In Soujian in Poonch, three civilians were injured when shells started to rain in the hill village.
At least eight Pakistani soldiers were killed and 12 others injured on Friday after the Indian Army pounded several of their positions along the LoC in north Kashmir with anti-tank guided missiles and artillery guns in response to the unprovoked ceasefire violations, said military sources.
A number of videos released by the Indian Army showed destruction of several Pakistani positions and bunkers across the LoC with some of them going up in flames following the retaliation. According to intercepts of Pakistan Army’s communication, those killed included two commandos from its Special Service Group, said the sources.
The sources said at least eight Pakistan army soldiers were killed and 12 sustained injuries. In addition, a number of Pakistan Army bunkers, fuel dumps and terrorist launch pads across the LoC were destroyed and set on fire, they said.
The exchange of fire took place after India foiled Pakistan’s unsuccessful infiltration bid in Machhil sector, said the Indian Army.
“Suspicious movement was observed by our troops at forward posts along the LoC in Keran Sector on Friday. The suspected infiltration bid was foiled by our alert troops. This was accompanied by the initiation of an unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan along the LoC in Keran by firing mortars and other weapons. We are giving a befitting response,” said the Army, adding this was the second infiltration attempt within a week.
The earlier unsuccessful infiltration bid in Machhil in the first week of November was foiled and three militants were killed.
“The Indian Army is well poised to defeat all attempts by Pakistan to infiltrate terrorists into J&K,” it said.
On Friday morning, Pakistani soldiers used small arms and mortar shelling to target army positions in Gurez, Tangdhar and Uri sectors.
Three Indian soldiers, including a captain and a BSF personnel, were killed in an encounter last week near the LoC in Macchil. The Army had said it killed three militants a kilometre away from the fence manned on both sides by rival armies.
Macchil in Kupwara district lies in the middle of Tangdhar and Gurez sectors.
Pakistan initiated the unprovoked ceasefire violation along the LoC in the Panzgam area of Kupwara following which the Indian side retaliated, sources said.
As the exchange of fire began, locals fled to safer areas and slipped into underground bunkers to escape from live ammunition. People were seen fleeing from markets in Tangdhar and a few residential areas where shells have previously landed. So far, there has been no reported injuries.
This year, the LOC firings have broken all previous records with close to 4,000 violations recorded so far. Most of the ceasefire breaches took place south of Pir Panjal, mainly in districts of Poonch and Rajouri.
(With inputs from PTI)
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