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India denies Pakistan's claims of illegal bombs amid renewed tensions over Kashmir

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By Syed Raza Hassan and Alasdair Pal

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan accused India on Saturday of using illegal cluster bombs, killing two civilians and wounding 11, in the contested Kashmir region that both countries claim.

In the latest flare-up of tensions between the two countries, India denied it had used such weapons.

Pakistan’s military released images of what it said were bombs used by India during shelling along the contested border in Kashmir on July 30 and 31, and photos of civilians, including a 4-year-old boy, who it said were killed and injured by the weapons.

“Use of cluster bombs by Indian Army violating international conventions is condemnable,” Major General Asif Ghafoor, chief spokesman for Pakistan’s armed forces, said in a tweet.

Two Indian army officials told Reuters that shelling across the border was proportionate and a response to firing by the Pakistan army.

“Such responses are only against military targets and infiltrating terrorists who are aided by Pakistan army,” a statement released by the Indian army said.

One of the officials said that at least one of the images released by Pakistan was of a mortar shell and not a cluster bomb.

Cluster bombs emit deadly exploding shrapnel and are prohibited under the Geneva Convention governing international warfare.

Pakistan’s accusations come a day after India said Pakistan-backed militants had planned attacks on Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir, leading to an evacuation of thousands of tourists from the region on Saturday.

India has long accused Pakistan of failing to do enough to curb militants based in its territory. Tension has run high in Kashmir since a Pakistan-based militant group rammed a car full of explosives into an Indian police convoy on Feb. 14, killing 40 paramilitary policemen, and leading to aerial clashes between the two nations.

(Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan in Karachi and Alasdair Pal in Islamabad; Additional reporting by Fayaz Bukhari in Srinagar; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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