Tensions escalated in Kashmir Saturday as a soldier and three civilians were killed in cross-border firing by the Indian and Pakistani armies, officials from the two countries said.
The latest wave of violence this week has left at least 21 dead, including soldiers, suspected militants and civilians on both sides of the heavily-militarised border that divides the disputed Himalayan region.
Indian Army spokesman Colonel N.N. Joshi said one of their soldiers was killed Saturday by Pakistani fire in Poonch sector along the de facto border, the Line of Control (LoC).
Two civilians, including a 15-year-old boy, were killed in a separate cross border assault along a stretch of uncontested frontier between Kashmir and the Pakistani province of Punjab, director general of police Shesh Paul Vaid told AFP.
Across the border, Pakistan's foreign office in a statement said Saturday a 60-year-old civilian was killed and two others including a six-year-old were injured in firing by Indian soldiers.
Four civilians had died in the firing during the previous two days, the statement added.
Both sides regularly trade fire along the border, parts of which are disputed, and civilian casualties are common.
But this week has been particularly bloody.
Pakistan said four of its soldiers were killed in Indian firing on Monday.
Earlier this week Indian soldiers also killed five suspected militants who they said were trying to infiltrate from Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
The latest deaths come a day after two Indian soldiers and two civilians were killed Friday when mortars fired by Pakistani soldiers landed in populated areas along the border in R S Pura area.
India and Pakistan on Friday summoned each other's diplomats to register protests over the killings with both accusing the other of initiating the cross-border fire.
The bitter rivals fought two of their wars over control of Kashmir, which has been divided between the nuclear-armed neighbours since partition in 1947..