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Soldier killed in cross-LoC firing

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Jammu, Mar 24: A soldier was killed Sunday when Indian and Pakistani troops traded fire along the Line of Control in Poonch and Rajouri districts, officials said.

“The Indian Army retaliated in strong measure, inflicting adequate damage and casualties to Pakistani troops,” Jammu-based Public Relations Officer (defence) Lt Col Devender Anand said.

He said grenadier Hari Bhakar, a resident of Rajasthan's Nagaur district, was seriously injured in Pakistani firing, and admitted to the nearest field hospital, but succumbed later, taking the number of Army personnel killed since last week to three.

On March 18, rifleman Karamjeet Singh was killed in Pakistani firing in Rajouri district, while rifleman Yash Paul lost his life in the same sector on March 21.

Col Anand said heavy caliber weapons and rockets were also fired from across the border by Pakistan troops in Poonch sector Saturday evening.

"Own troops retaliated in strong measure inflicting adequate damage and casualties to Pakistani army," he said.

Officials said grenadier Bhakar was guarding a forward post in Shahpur area and was critically injured in the cross-border firing, which continued intermittently throughout the night.

A wreath laying ceremony was held in northern Army headquarters at Udhampur to pay tribute to him, the officials said, adding that his mortal remains were transported in a service aircraft from Udhampur to Jaipur.

Lt Col Anand said Pakistan also initiated “unprovoked ceasefire violation” by shelling mortars and firing of small arms along the LoC in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district around 11.50 am.

The border skirmishes between the two sides have witnessed a spurt after the February 14 Pulwama suicide attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel.

Four civilians, including three members of a family, have been killed and several injured in cross-border firing in recent weeks.

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