Seven more militants were on Saturday killed in a fierce encounter with suspected foreign ultras holed up in a jungle in Machhil sector of north Kashmir that stretched to a second day.
"The seven militants were killed in fresh exchange of fire which began in the wee hours on Saturday taking the death toll of militants in the operation to 12," army sources said.
An officer of the rank of colonel and three jawans were also killed in the encounter on Friday but there were no casualties on the security forces side on Saturday, they said.
Col J J Joseph, commanding officer of the 45 Rashtriya Rifles, is the highest ranking army official to have been killed in counter-insurgency operations in the last one year.
Army troops had laid a cordon of the jungle area in Machhil sector of Kupwara district, killing five militants early on Friday.
This is the first major encounter with militants in the hinterland, and comes as reports suggest a steep increase in infiltration attempts by militants and LoC violations by the Pakistani troops.