The gunbattle between militants and security forces entered seventh day in north Kashmir's Handwara-Kupwara belt on Friday. The militant death toll has risen to five in the past one week.
While several houses were damaged in the exchange of fire, seven security personnel were injured in the ongoing operation, which started on June 30.
A contact between militants and security forces was established once again near Boban village, which falls in densely forested Rajwar in Handwara- Kupwara belt, more than 70 km north of Srinagar.
"The contact was established with the terrorists last night and, in the ensuing encounter, one unidentified terrorist, likely to be a foreigner, has been killed," said Srinagar-based army spokesman JS Brar said on Friday.
In the fresh skirmishes, two houses were also destroyed. "The body of one terrorist has been recovered. It’s likely that more terrorists holed up in the houses have been killed," said Brar.
In the last one week, five militants, whom the army believed were foreigners, have been killed at two encounter sites in the same forest range. The identity of the slain terrorist has not been established.
On Thursday, the army claimed to have killed three suspected militants in Mankal forests in Nowgam Sector.
"The two encounter sites are far off from each other. It seems the batch of militants, which mostly comprises more than four persons, have fanned out. The two encounter sites are divided by a ridge," said army’s 15 Corps spokesman Brijesh Pandey.
The seven-day operation and the two gun-battles have come in the backdrop of the June 19 killing of an army man with a sniper shot near Handwara’s Rani Post.
North Kashmir is witnessing a heightened militancy with Lashkar-e-Tayyeba making fresh recruitment. Since June, the police have claimed to arrest seven militants in Sopore, adjacent to Handwara.
Many were fresh recruits to be sent across to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for arms training by only surviving Pakistani militant commander Fahadullah, according to the police.