9 killed, 11 injured in Indian shelling across Line of Control, says Pakistan

The cross-border tension has mounted a day after three Indian soldiers were found dead in an ambush attack. Photograph:( Getty )

New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 23, 2016, 05.05 AM (IST)

Indian shelling across the frontier into Pakistani-controlled Kashmir hit a bus, killing at least nine people and wounding 11, Pakistani officials said, as tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours simmers. 

Indian troops attacked the bus "with small and big arms" in the town of Lawat, senior police official Jamil Mir told Reuters. 

Pakistan's military media wing, ISPR, said in a statement that seven people were killed and seven wounded. 

Lawat is 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-held Kashmir, in the upper belt of Neelum Valley that straddles the de facto border splitting Kashmir between India and Pakistan. 

Indian officials did not comment on the deaths but a military spokesman said the Pakistani Army initiated "indiscriminate" firing on Wednesday morning on Indian Army posts in Bhimber Gali, Krishna Ghati and Nawshera sectors.

Relations between Pakistan and India have been strained for several months, while cross-frontier shelling has intensified leading to deaths of civilians and soldiers stationed along the disputed frontier. 

Kashmir lies at the heart of the tension. The countries have fought two of their three wars over the region since partition and independence from Britain in 1947.

The retaliatory attacks come a day after an Indian troop's body was found mutilated and a further two killed in an ambush attack in Kashmir.  The soldiers were ambushed while they were on a patrol duty in the Machil sector of north Kashmir by the Pakistan army.

"Retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act," the army had said on Tuesday.

Hostilities between the nuclear-armed neighbours escalated when four gunmen crossed the Line of Control to launch a deadly attack on an Indian Army installation on September 18. India retaliated by conducting surgical strikes on terror launchpads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Islamabad, however, denied any such attacks.

Since then there have been repeated outbreaks of cross-border firing in Kashmir, with both sides reporting deaths and injuries including of civilians.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)