06:35 GMT15 July 2020
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    It was reported Wednesday that at least nine people had been killed in Kashmir after Indian shelling struck a bus in the Pakistan-controlled area at around 8:30 AM local time. Pakistani officials say three Pakistani troops were killed amid shots fired across the border.

    The Indian government released a statement offering condolences for the fallen civilians, but maintained that "Retaliatory firing by Indian troops has only been carried out targeting locations from where Pakistan has initiated ceasefire violations on Indian posts." 

    Pakistani police official Jamil Mir said that four of the victims were taken to a hospital nearby, while the five others remained trapped on the bus. Initial reports from ISPR, the media wing of the Pakistani military, say that seven people had been killed in the bus shelling, which took place about 60 miles northeast of the Kashmir capital of Muzaffarabad, and that three troops were killed "while responding to Indian unprovoked firing."

    ISPR stated, "We reserve the right to respond at the place and time of our choosing." 

    According to an Indian Army spokesman, the Pakistani Army commenced "indiscriminate" firing on the Indian Army post in Nawshera, Bhimber Gali and Krishna Ghati.

    Sardar Abdul Waheed, Deputy Police Commissioner of the Neelum Valley, told Al Jazeera, "The ambulance heading to the site came under attack as well, and locals arranged transportation for those injured, taking them to the hospital in private cars." 

    "The injured and death toll may increase, we are still waiting for the heavy shelling to stop in order to start rescues, we are not able to pick up injured or other person[s] from the area," Waheed added. 

    The shelling occurred one day after the Indian Army vowed "retribution" after three of its soldiers were killed and one soldier’s body was mutilated near the border in Jammu. Pakistani soldiers are suspected of being responsible. The Indian Army tweeted, "Body of one soldier mutilated, retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act" according to the Hindustan Times

    Islamabad and New Dehli have had an increasingly-strained relationship over the past few months, as soldier and civilian deaths pile up and shelling across the disputed areas escalates.

    The two nations have fought two wars over the Kashmir region since 1947, following their independence from Britain.


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