India and Pakistan trade more gunfire

 

Indian and Pakistani troops, locked in a five-month standoff, have traded heavy fire again, a day after New Delhi expelled Pakistan's envoy to India following an attack it blamed on Pakistan-based guerrillas.

Today was the third day in a row of intense mortar and machine gun fire along the Line of Control, the ceasefire line dividing the two armies in disputed Kashmir. Both sides blamed the other for starting it.

An Indian defence spokesman said shells were hitting civilian areas on the Indian side but there were no reports of casualties.

Pakistan police said there was no word on casualties from the latest fighting on their side of the line but five people had died from Indian firing over the past 24 hours.

Tensions between the nuclear rivals have flared anew since the attack on an Indian army camp last Tuesday by suspected Pakistan-based Kashmiri separatists in which 34 people, mostly wives and children of soldiers, died.

India said it expelled Pakistan's ambassador to heap pressure on Islamabad to curb Islamic militants fighting Indian rule in Kashmir. Pakistan denies giving armed support to the separatists.