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Cross-border fire in Kashmir kills 1 soldier, 3 civilians

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ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A cross-border exchange of fire in the disputed region of Kashmir killed a soldier and three civilians, Pakistan and India said Monday, trading accusations over the latest shooting incident.

Pakistan said "unprovoked" firing from the Indian side killed a villager and a year-and-a-half-old child. India said the shooting killed one if its soldiers and a 6-year-old boy.

The firing, which began overnight and continued into the morning hours, came from three sectors near the Sialkot district and also wounded seven other villagers, the Pakistani army said in a statement. It added that the Pakistani paramilitary troops were responding to the attack.

Both countries claim the territory of Kashmir in its entirety.

Indian said it only retaliated to the Pakistani attacks, calling them "unprovoked and blatant cease-fire violation."

Pakistani soldiers fired mortars and automatic rifles at least at a dozen border posts early on Monday, said D. Parekh, a senior officer with India's Border Security Force. He said apart from the deaths of the 6-year-old and the soldier, nine civilians and two soldiers were wounded on the Indian side of the contested region.

There have been dozens of such cross-border incidents between the two archrivals in recent weeks. Tensions have risen since last month, when India claimed it conducted "surgical strikes" against militants on Pakistani soil in response to a September attack that killed 19 Indian soldiers in Kashmir.

India accuses Pakistan of helping Islamic insurgents in the Himalayan region, allegations Pakistan has rejected.

After the latest exchange, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urged the international community to take note of the "grave human rights violations" in Kashmir. A statement from Sharif's office said he discussed Kashmir with U.K. National Security Adviser Mark Lyall Grant who called him on Monday.

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