MUZAFFARABAD -  Three people were killed and several others wounded on Monday in Indian shelling on Azad Kashmir’s border areas along the Line of Control (LoC), officials said, as tension simmers between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

“A policeman, a man and a woman were killed when Indian troops opened fire across the border in Nakyal sector,” said Zeeshan Nisar, local official and added that five were wounded.

The civilians were killed when mortars and artillery shells hit their houses in Olipanjni, Dabsi and Mohra villages.

Nakyal lies on the Line of Control, the de facto border dividing the disputed Himalayan state between India and Pakistan, where firing which started early Monday was still continuing.

Feelings have run high since July, when Indian security forces killed a young Kashmiri fighter in Held Kashmir, prompting months of protests and a corresponding security crackdown that has claimed more than 100 lives.

“There has been intense shelling in Nakyal sector since morning,” said Zeeshan Nisar, confirming the death toll. Two people were wounded, he added.

Nisar accused Indian forces of targeting civilians in their firing across the disputed border.

Nisar said three people were also wounded in the Neelum Valley by Indian troops.

Shelling in the Neelum Valley hit a vehicle near the village of Danjar wounding three people, said local official Sardar Waheed. Adnan Khursheed, another local official, confirmed the firing and casualties.

Three people also got minor injuries when a mortar shell fired from across the LoC landed near a house in Flakan near Aathmuqam in Neelum Valley.

Another six villagers were wounded during Indian army shelling into villages in Hajira sector of district Rawalakot.

Despite rising tensions along the LoC, weekly bus service between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar operated on Monday with Kashmiris from divided families crossed over either side of divide.

Separately, overnight cross-border firing in Madarpur sector damaged 25 houses and three vehicles, local government official Ch Altaf said.

The Indian military claimed that it had fired in response to Pakistani firing in the Poonch district on Monday morning, but did not comment on reports of casualties.  An Indian defence spokesman claimed Pakistani forces had fired 120mm and 82mm mortars, as well as automatic weapons, across the Line of Control, and alleged they had targeted Indian posts and civilian areas.

Officials in Nakyal sector say thousands of people have fled their homes due to the firing, though they were unable to confirm precise figures. More than 70 schools have also been closed in Nakyal and Goi sectors, authorities said. Last week authorities on both sides closed hundreds of schools along frontier areas in the south of the territory when cross-border firing killed 14 residents.

Relations between the two countries have plummeted in recent months.

The neighbours have been engaged in a diplomatic tit-for-tat ever since.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from Britain in 1947. Both claim the territory in full and have fought two wars over the mountainous region.

Tensions in Indian-held Kashmir were already high before the army base attack over the July 8 death of a popular Kashmiri leader, with nearly 100 people killed in clashes with security forces since then.