The security forces inflicted a major damage on the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) militant outfit on Wednesday by killing its five militants in a daylong encounter in north Kashmir's border district of Kupwara.
A joint operation of the local police, the army and the CRPF was launched at 10 am on Wednesday in a forest area near Laribal village, 90 km north of Srinagar.
Immediately after making a contact with the hiding militant, the security forces threw a water-tight cordon around them to ensure there is no escape route.
"The militants were asked to surrender. However, they opened fire resulting in an intense firefight," said Srinagar-based army spokesman Lt Col JS Brar.
During the encounter, the militants got split into two groups. "Three militants were killed inside the jungle area where as two were shot at in a house nearby the forests," Handwara superintendent of police Muhammad Aslam told the Hindustan Times.
According to the security forces, the spot of today's encounter was near Rajwar forest range, which straddles between Handwara and Kupwara police districts.
Five well-armed militants were killed during the heavy exchange of fire between the security forces and the militants. The house where two militants holed up was damaged. There are no reports of any casualty to security in the enocunter.
"We are trying to establish the identity of the militants. All the slain militants belong to the LeT," said Aslam.
The LeT module was on the security forces' radar for the last two years. "The batch was not a fresh one but old active militants hiding the area for the past two years," said Aslam.
Wednesday's gunbattle was the first major encounter of this year. With snow melting in upper reaches, militants are resurfacing near human habitations.
"Most of the militants are likely to be foreigners," said Brar.
Till last reports came in, the security forces were sieving the debris of the house where two holed up militants are buried.