Kashmir clash: Pakistan says India killed seven troops

Pakistani army chief Raheel Sharif (4L) and military officials offer funeral prayers for soldiers who were killed in cross-border firing at the Line of Control (LoC) in Bhimber sector, in Jhelum some 120 kms south of Islamabad. Image copyright ISPR
Image caption Pakistani army chief Raheel Sharif (fourth from left) led funeral prayers for the soldiers

Seven Pakistani soldiers have been killed by Indian shelling in disputed Kashmir, the Pakistani military says.

The troops died in "unprovoked" firing overnight in the Bhimber sector on the Line of Control (LoC). India blamed Pakistan for starting the clash.

It is thought to be the Pakistani military's biggest single loss of life in Kashmir since a 2003 truce.

Tensions have flared over the long-running dispute since an Indian army base was attacked in September.

Image copyright AP
Image caption It is the Pakistani military's biggest single loss of life in Kashmir since a 2003 truce, correspondents say

Both India and Pakistan accuse each other of violating the 2003 ceasefire agreement.

Both sides have reported civilians and a number of soldiers being killed or injured in recent weeks, during which time the LoC has seen intense exchanges of fire.

Hundreds of civilians in villages along the LoC have been evacuated.

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The territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over Muslim-majority Kashmir has been running for decades.

Both nuclear-armed states claim the territory in its entirety but control only parts of it. Two of the three wars fought between the two sides since independence have been over Kashmir.

After the 18 September army base attack on the Indian-administered side, the Indian military said it had carried out "surgical strikes" against suspected militants along the LoC.

Pakistan called the strikes an "illusion" and denied Indian claims it was behind the militant attack.

A subsequent BBC investigation found that while India did not airdrop commandos to hit militant camps or conduct ground assaults deep into Pakistani-administered territory, troops did cross the LoC a significant distance to hit border posts and then pulled back.

Pakistan said two soldiers were killed in the strikes. Two more are reported to have died in cross-border firing since.

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