All three Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants holed up inside a two-storey concrete house in north Kashmir were killed on Tuesday morning when the security forces stormed the house after blasting it.
An encounter broke in Handwara's Shatipora area, more than 60 km north of Srinagar, on Monday afternoon during a search operation.
A joint party of the Handwara police, the army's 21 RR and the CRPF was working on a tip-off that militants were moving around in populated areas. The search party came under heavy fire from a house. The gun-battle raged the entire night and it was in the morning that the security forces launched the final assault to kill the three militants. The stand-off continued for around 15 hours.
In the morning, inspector general of police Abdul Gani Mir confirmed that "all militants were killed".
According to a police spokesman in Srinagar, all the three militants belonged to the LeT. "The slain militants have been identified as Abu Waqaas, Qari Nomaan and Ubaid," said the spokesman.
The trio, the police said, was instrumental in receiving fresh recruits from across the border. "Two Army jawans were also injured in the encounter," said the spokesman.
Three AK 47 rifles and nine magazines were recovered from the slain militants.
The house of a local resident was completely damaged in the cross-fire and the final assault launched in the morning. The security forces had to sieve through the debris to retrieve the mangled bodies of the militants.
The bodies of the militants were allowed to be buried locally. Several locals participated in the funeral prayers for the militants.
The police suspect presence of around a dozen militants who are active in the Handwara belt.