Two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants were killed on Sunday in an encounter in south Kashmir's Kulgam district, 60 away from Srinagar.
The exchange of fire between the militants and the security forces started in the afternoon when a cordon was being thrown in a residential area at Nowpora-Frisal area of Kulgam.
"On a specific information regarding the presence of armed militants in village Nowpora Frisal, the police, the army's 1 RR, CRPF 90 and 18 Battalions launched a cordon and search operation today," said Srinagar-based spokesman of the police.
He said the militants fired on the joint search party, triggering an encounter. The security forces retaliated the militant fire. Later, two LeT militants were killed in the encounter.
"They were later identified as Zubair Ahmad Bhat alias Musab and Ishfaq Ahmad Bhat alias Amir," said the spokesman.
Both are local militants. While Zubair Bhat was a resident of Nowpora, Ishfaq Bhat hails from Chakoo, Shopian. "The duo belonged to Ayatollah alias Maaz sub-group of the LeT and were active in south Kashmir," said the spokesman.
Sunday's operation has come amid reports of fresh recruitments made by the LeT in south Kashmir. At least four local boys have joined the LeT ranks in the past four months, triggering alarm among the security agencies.
LeT's operational commander Qasim, who escaped a cordon in Central Kashmir's Budgam district, is reportedly behind the increasing activity in south Kashmir. The commander is accused of planning and executing high profile attacks in Srinagar in the past couple of years.
The army suspects that the militants attempt to cross the Line of Control may go up as snow has started melting in the upper reaches. General Officer Commanding in Chief, Northern Command, Lieutenant General Sanjiv Chachra on Sunday said, "The situation on the Line of Control (LoC) is well under control. There is peace on the Line of Control. We are vigilant. We are aware and we are ready to face all the challenges that are coming in the next few months."
He claimed there was no major infiltration attempt this year so far. "We are prepared. Our counter infiltration grid is well in place, the troops are well alert and ready to take on the challenge,” said Chachra, who concluded his two-day trip to Kashmir on Sunday.