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Cross-Kashmir Border Clash Kills Pakistani Soldier, 2 Civilians

FILE - A Pakistan army officer points out the Indian forward area posts to journalists at Bagsar post on the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between Pakistan and India, Oct. 1, 2016.

Pakistan said that cross-border shooting by India late Friday left one soldier and two civilians dead in the disputed Kashmir region.

Three soldiers and two civilians were wounded, according to a Pakistani military statement.

The statement blamed Indian troops for initiating the fire and targeting the civilian population with heavy weapons in the Rakhchikri area near the Line of Control, which separates Pakistani and Indian portions of Kashmir.

Soldiers dispatched to help evacuate injured civilians then also came under attack from Indian troops, the Pakistan army said. Pakistani forces returned fire, targeting Indian army posts.

Such exchanges of gunfire are common in Kashmir, which has been the cause of two of three wars between the two nuclear powers since 1947, the year they gained independence from Britain.

The skirmishes have rendered ineffective a 2003 mutual cease-fire in the disputed territory.

Last week, six civilians were killed and 26 wounded when Indian forces opened fire from across the Kashmir frontier.

India and Pakistan both claim the divided Himalayan region in its entirety.