LAHORE, Pakistan - Three children died and one sustained serious injuries when a mortar shell they mistook for a ball exploded in a village close to the Indian border, officials said Wednesday.
Local administration official Umra Khan told AFP that the incident occurred in Tughal Prua -- a village -- 62 miles (99 kilometres) northeast of Lahore "when children had found an unexploded mortar shell in a field, bought it home and started playing with it".
The accident was confirmed by staff at the local police station.
Khan said the children had gone to play in the nearby fields when they found a motor shell and brought it home.
"They were playing with the mortar shell inside their house when it exploded killing three of them while the fourth is seriously injured", he said adding that the injured child had been taken to the Combined Military Hospital in Sialkot.
Khan said the village is located just a few hundred yards from Pakistan's border with India and that multiple shells have landed in the area during recent exchanges of fire between the two countries.
"Those killed included Hanzala Qasim 14, Hafeez Ullah 13 and Saira Aslam 12-years-old while Azhar Ali, who is injured is barely 10 years old", he said.
At least 20 civilians have been killed and thousands on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) -- the de facto border -- have fled their homes since October 6 when some of the worst frontier shelling in years broke out.
The nuclear-armed neighbours, who have fought two wars over Muslim-majority Kashmir, have traded blame for the recent violence in the disputed Himalayan region.
Both countries administer parts of Kashmir but claim sovereignty over the whole region.
India called off peace talks last month after Pakistan consulted with Indian Kashmiri separatists, in a move some saw as a sign of a tougher stance under Narendra Modi's new right-wing government.