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Pakistan army says Indian fire kills 3 soldiers in Kashmir

A military statement said the “unprovoked cease-fire violation” took place Monday in Rawalakot in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir. (File photo: AFP)
ISLAMABAD: Three Pakistani soldiers have been killed by Indian fire across the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region, Pakistani officials said Tuesday.
A military statement said the “unprovoked cease-fire violation” took place Monday in Rawalakot in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir. It came two days after India’s army said four of its soldiers had been killed by Pakistani fire along the de facto border between the South Asian rivals.
In the latest shooting, the Indian military said that its soldiers targeted Pakistani posts after the Pakistani side had targeted their positions. The Indian troops did not suffer any casualties, officials said.
The incident happened hours after the wife and mother of an imprisoned Indian naval officer who faces the death penalty in Pakistan for espionage and sabotage were allowed to meet with him in Islamabad.
The situation remained tense in some of the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir, with residents fleeing to safer places in the region.
After Saturday’s shooting, the Indian military said in a statement that the soldiers’ killings “will not go in vain.” India said Pakistani soldiers had violated the 2003 cease-fire accord by targeting Indian forward posts in the Rajouri sector.
Pakistan’s army and the foreign ministry did not respond to the Indian claims.
India and Pakistan have a long history of bitter relations over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, which is claimed by both in its entirety. Both countries have repeatedly accused the other of initiating border skirmishes that led to the deaths of soldiers and civilians.
They have fought two of their three wars over the region since they gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.
Meanwhile, India accused Pakistan of violating mutual understandings on a meeting Tuesday of an Indian naval officer facing the death penalty in Pakistan for espionage and sabotage with his wife and mother in Islamabad.
It was the first meeting between Kulbhushan Jadhav and his family since he was arrested in March 2016 after allegedly entering the country from Iran.
A Pakistani military tribunal found Jadhav guilty of espionage and sabotage and sentenced him to death, but India obtained an order from the International Court of Justice to halt the execution.
Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said that contrary to assurances, the overall atmosphere of the meeting was intimidating insofar as family members were concerned.
During the meeting, Jadhav was seen sitting behind a glass screen in the Pakistani Foreign Office while his mother and wife sat on the other side. They spoke through an intercom for nearly 40 minutes.
Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal said Pakistan allowed the meeting as a “humanitarian gesture” following a request from India. He said the visit was granted in accordance with Islamic customs despite Jadhav’s involvement in “acts of terrorism.”
Also on Tuesday, Indian troops killed a rebel commander in a gunfight in southern Samboora village in Indian-held Kashmir, police said.
Police called the killing of Noor Mohammed a “significant breakthrough.”
A statement by police blamed Mohammed for masterminding and coordinating a string of attacks, including an audacious strike recently by three militants near the highly secured airport in the region’s main city of Srinagar.
Anti-India protests and clashes followed as the fighting raged on Tuesday, with hundreds of residents hitting streets in solidarity with the rebels. Government forces fired shotgun pellets and tear gas to quell rock-throwing protesters. There were no immediate reports of injuries.