MUZAFFARABAD: Ind­ian troops resorted to heavy artillery shelling in the Neelum valley of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday evening. No casualties were reported, the military’s media affairs wing said.

“The Indian troops targeted Shahkot and Jura sectors in [the lower belt of] Neelum valley with artillery, and Kel sector [in the upper belt of valley] with mortars in the evening without any provocation,” said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement.

According to the ISPR, it was for the first time that the Indians used artillery during the current phase of escalation.

“They [Indians] specifically targeted civilian populations but no losses have so far been reported from anywhere,” the ISPR said. “Pakistani troops are responding to the Indians by targeting their defence posts.”

The exchange was continuing until late evening.

The Line of Control in the southern districts of Poonch and Kotli was quiet on Wednesday.

Several people have either lost their lives or suffered injuries over past weeks in Indian shelling in the Battal, Madarpur, Darra Sher Khan, Tatta Pani, Nakyal, Goi and Khuiratta areas.

AFP adds: Meanwhile, one Indian soldier died after coming under Pakistani “sniper fire” on Wednesday in Machhal sector, army spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia told AFP.

In a separate incident, Col Kalia said, Indian troops gunned down two “militants” in a firefight in the Sopore area of India-held Kashmir after receiving a tip-off.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2016

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