War Clouds Over Kashmir as India Says 7 Pakistani Soldiers Killed in Retaliatory Shelling

The simmering tension over the Line of Control between India and Pakistan escalated on Friday, resulting in the death of more than 15 people including soldiers from both sides.

The India-Pak conflict touched a new low this week after a series of terror strikes targeted Indian soldiers and civilians on the India side of the border. India said it thwarted the bid of several Pak-sponsored militants to cross into the Indian side.

The Indian army said it blocked the militants' attempt to infiltrate into Kashmir under the cover of the Pakistani firing along the Line of Control (LoC).

17 Indian soldiers killed in militant attack on Kashmir army brigade HQ
Youths hurl stones towards the Indian police during a protest against the recent killings in Kashmir Reuters

"Suspicious movement was observed by our troops at the forward posts along the LoC in Keran sector (in north Kashmir's Kupwara district) today. The suspected infiltration bid was foiled by alert troops," a defence ministry spokesman said.

"Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violations along the LoC spread across multiple sectors to include Dawar, Keran, Uri and Naugam. Pakistan deliberately targeted civilian areas. Three Indian Army soldiers have been killed in action and three soldiers injured," news agency ANI quoted an Indian Army spokesman as saying.

India said four soldiers and a sub-inspector from the Border Security Force (BSF) were killed in Pakistani firing. As many as six civilians also died in the attak, even as Pakistan used mortars and other weapons, news agency PTI reported, citing Indian officials.

In a strong retaliation that followed, India shelled Pakistani bunkers and launch pads across the LoC, killing around 6-7 Pakistan army soldiers. The casualties on the Pakistani side included two SSG (Special Service Group) commandos. More than 10 Pakistani soldiers have been injured, the Indian defence sources said. The Indian army also released videos that showed the targets being destroyed.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) accused India of ceasefire violation. A report in the Dawn newspaper said five civilians and a soldier died in the firing by Indian troops from across the LoC. More than 30 civilians and five soldiers were also injured in the attack. The Pak army claimed India suffered "substantial losses" as it gave a "befitting reply" to the Indian firing.