THE Pakistan air force said yesterday it has shot down two Indian warplanes after they crossed the boundary between the two nuclear-armed rivals in the disputed territory of Kashmir, with two Indian pilots being captured.

The civil aviation authority in Pakistan later shut all airspace in the country to commercial flights.

The dramatic escalation came hours after Pakistan said mortar shells fired by Indian troops from across the frontier dividing the two sectors of Kashmir killed six civilians and wounded several others.

Pakistan’s army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said Pakistani troops on the ground captured the pilots. He added that one of the downed planes crashed in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir, while the other went down in Indian-controlled section of the Himalayan region.

The injured pilot is being treated at a military hospital. Ghafoor said the pilots are being treated well, but made no mention of them being returned to India.

IN Egypt, a speeding train crashed into a barrier at Cairo’s main railway station yesterday, causing its fuel tank to explode and triggering a huge fire that left at least 25 people dead. Railway officials said the train collided head-on with the barrier.

The National:

At least 47 people were also injured in the accident.

Mohammed Said, the head of the Cairo Railway hospital, said there are concerns the death toll could rise further following the blaze. Egypt’s transport minister Hisham Arafa later resigned.

THE collapse of an unlicensed gold mine in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province has buried dozens of people.

Emergency personnel used their bare hands and farm tools in a desperate attempt to reach victims calling for help from beneath the rubble.

The National:

Local disaster official Abdul Muin Paputungan said one person was confirmed dead and 14 people with injuries ranging from light to serious had been rescued.

As many as 60 people were buried, he said.

“Unstable soil conditions make us extra careful lifting rocks because it can lead to new landslides,” said Paputungan.

“We still hear voices crying for help from people beneath the rubble. Survivors estimated about 60 people are trapped in the rubble of the mining pit,” he added.

Makeshift wooden structures in the mine in Bolaang Mongondow district collapsed on Tuesday evening due to unstable soil and the large number of mining holes.

Police, search and rescue agency workers, military and Indonesian Red Cross personnel are involved in the rescue bid but the remote location was complicating the operation, with earth-moving equipment and ambulances unable to reach the site.