By Fayaz Bukhari and Abu Arqam Naqash
SRINAGAR, India / MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan, November 13 (Reuters) – At least 10 civilians and four security personnel were killed in cross-border shelling between India and Pakistan on Friday in one of the deadliest days this year along the heavily militarized border that separates nuclear-weapon rivals, officials said.
The barrage of mortars and other weapons along several parts of the Line of Control – the de facto border – began after Indian troops foiled an attempt to infiltrate Pakistan into northern Kashmir, officials said. officials in Srinagar and New Delhi.
The Pakistani military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Indian officials said six civilians, three soldiers and a border guard were killed on their side. Pakistani officials said four civilians were killed there. Indian officials said they believed there were casualties among Pakistani security forces as well.
India and Pakistan fully claim Kashmir. Each governs part of the region, with New Delhi long accusing its neighbor of fueling an insurgency, which Pakistan denies.
Indian and Pakistani troops regularly exchange fire across the mountainous border, but Friday’s shelling was particularly intense, according to Indian officials. The two sides also accused the other of shooting at civilian areas.
“As usual, they targeted the civilian populations without any remorse,” said Syed Shahid Qadri, a government official in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, where a woman was among the dead and 27 others were injured.
Across the border in Indian Kashmir, officials said an 8-year-old was among those killed in the shelling that started in the morning and continued late into the evening.
Mukhtar Ahmad, a resident of Uri in Indian Kashmir, said there was panic in the hillside town after loud explosions were heard in areas closer to the de facto border.
“Several families fled the area and took refuge in the town of Uri,” he said.
More than 40 civilians have been killed in gunfire between Indian and Pakistani troops this year, according to official data, with both sides suffering similar deaths. (Additional reporting and writing by Devjyot Ghoshal)