- The Washington Times - Monday, May 20, 2002

NEW DELHI Fierce gunfire across the India-Pakistan border and attacks by militants killed at least 15 persons in disputed Kashmir during the weekend, as India yesterday considered whether to take further military action against its rival.
The most intense cross-border firing this year came after India ordered the expulsion of Pakistan's ambassador on Saturday to protest an earlier attack by suspected Islamic militants. India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring the militants battling Indian forces in Kashmir, charges that the neighbor denies.
Suspected Islamic guerrillas yesterday fired at an Indian army paramilitary camp about 95 miles north of Jammu, the winter capital of India's northern Jammu and Kashmir state, killing four soldiers and wounding 12, state police spokesman Subhash Raina said.
Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh called it a "terrorist attack."
"We want to make it clear that the Indian army will retaliate immediately every time there is any such assault committed by Pakistan," Mr. Singh said.
Indian army officials said small-arms fire across the border was relentless yesterday, and that both sides exchanged heavy mortar fire overnight, forcing thousands of villagers to flee their homes.
Three Indian civilians were killed Saturday, the officials said. In Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, Information Minister Nisar Memon said that "unprovoked" Indian shelling had killed seven Pakistanis and wounded 41 since Saturday.
Tension between the nuclear-armed neighbors has increased since an attack on another Indian base in Kashmir last Tuesday killed 34 persons, most of them wives and children of soldiers. India blamed the attack on Pakistan-based militants.


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