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2 Indian soldiers killed by 'militants' along LoC

Two Indian soldiers have been killed by suspected militants along the Line of Control (LoC), officials said Saturday.

An army officer said militants overnight ambushed an Indian army patrol, killing one, near Machil sector along the LoC.

The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to media, said that militants crossed over from Azad Kashmir while taking advantage of rugged terrain and thick foliage. He said Indian soldiers retaliated and killed an insurgent in what he described as “face-to-face combat”.

He said the militants “mutilated” the body of the Indian soldier before fleeing to the Pakistani side.

There was no independent confirmation of the incident.

In a strongly worded statement, the Indian army called the soldier’s mutilation a “despicable act”.

Shortly after, cross-border clashes erupted at several posts in Machil sector, killing another Indian soldier.

In Pakistan, the military in a statement said that India on Saturday again resorted to unprovoked firing along the LoC and that the soldiers from the two countries were still exchanging fire. It did not say Pakistan troops suffered any casualties.

Indian and Pakistani troops in recent weeks have frequently exchanged cross-border fire, causing casualties on both sides. Both have blamed each other for initiating it.

Troops from the two countries have regularly traded fire since last month, when India said it carried out “surgical strikes” against militants in Azad Kashmir. Pakistan dismissed the claim and called on India to produce evidence to back it up.

On Thursday, both countries expelled a diplomat amid the escalating tensions.

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