Srinagar/Islamabad - Four civilians have been killed and 11 injured in heavy exchanges of fire between Pakistani and Indian border forces in the disputed Kashmir region, officials said Saturday.
Multiple ceasefire violations have been reported in the border region after tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours escalated this week, stoking fears of a full blown conflict.
A 24-year-old woman and her two young children were killed in the Poonch district of India-administered Kashmir during overnight shelling by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC), police officer Ramesh Kumar Angral said. The father was also critically injured.
The LoC, a de facto border, divides the disputed Kashmir region into two parts, one administered by India and the other by Pakistan.
Seven more civilians were injured in the firing in the Uri frontier area on Friday, reports said.
In Pakistan-administered Kashmir, officials said heavy Indian firing killed a boy and injured three more in the Kotli district late Friday night.
The border clashes came hours after Pakistani authorities released an Indian pilot as a peace gesture to help calm tensions.
The pilot was shot down on Wednesday during a dogfight with Pakistani aircraft and later captured.
A day earlier, India's air force claimed to have struck an alleged training militant camp in Pakistan, in retaliation for a suicide attack that killed 40 paramilitary soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir on February 14.
Pakistan and India both lay claim to the Kashmir region and have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir.
They agreed to a ceasefire on the border in 2003, but it is often violated with their border forces accusing each other of targeting army posts and local people.dpa