Three separatist guerrillas, including a top militant belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were killed early on Wednesday by security forces in a forested area of Jammu and Kashmir's north Kupwara district, officials said.
The operation against the guerrillas in the Zachaldara forest area, about 95 km from here, is still on, a defence spokesperson said.
One of the slain militants has been identified as Abu Hamza, a Pakistani national belonging to the banned outfit LeT.
The spokesperson said the army and local police had launched the offensive on specific information about the militants hiding in the forests.
"The terrorists were asked to surrender but they started indiscriminate heavy automatic gunfire on the surrounding troops which triggered the encounter.
"So far, three terrorists have been killed in this operation which is still going on," the spokesperson said.