MUZAFFARABAD , Pakistan, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Nine civilians died Wednesday when a bus was struck by artillery shelling across the northern India-Pakistan border in restive Kashmir, Pakistani police said.
The passenger bus was hit early Wednesday as it traveled in the Neelam Valley, on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control separating the two countries in the contested region it shares. Eleven people aboard the bus were injured, said Jamil Nir, police superintendent of Neelam Valley.
"All along the Line of Control, cease-fire violations are going on today," said Brig. P. S. Gotra of the Indian Army's northern command. "Both countries are firing at each other."
In a separate shelling incident, one person was killed and six injured in the town of Naykal, on the Pakistani side. The Tattya Pani sector of Kotli district and Madaropur sectors of Poonch district were also hit with shells.
The attacks came after the Indian army's announcement Tuesday that three of its soldiers were killed on the border, and one of the victims was mutilated. It was the second time in recent weeks India reported a serviceman's mutilation, typically a reference in Indian media to beheading. Gotra said it was unclear if the soldiers were killed by the Pakistani army, local militants or a combination of both.
Pakistan's Foreign Office called the report of the mutilations "a fabrication and a blatant attempt to malign Pakistan."
Inter-Services Public Relations, the Pakistani military's media service, said Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire Wednesday across the Line of Control. It earlier reported that "India resorted to unprovoked firing and shelling on [the] LoC in Shahkot, Jura, Battal, Karela, Bagh, Bagsar, Hotspring sectors today."
Although the two countries agreed to a cease-fire in Kashmir in 2003, sporadic incidents break out regularly along the Line of Control and have intensified since September, when 19 soldiers were killed at an Indian base on the border. India alleged the killings were done by Pakistani militants allowed to cross the border, and responded with artillery attacks on Pakistani bases.