Two militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) outfit were today killed in a day-long gun battle with security forces in Malroo locality on the outskirts of Srinagar city.
The militants were killed after the security forces blasted two houses, where the two and their accomplice were believed to be hiding since last night. Two bodies have been recovered, police said.
According to police, security forces had information about the presence of three hardcore JeM militants in a house belonging to a property dealer in the locality, 15km from here.
As the gun battle broke out between the two sides, one of the militants had jumped out of the house of the property dealer and taken shelter in the neighbouring house, police said.
Two policemen and a young girl were injured by stray bullets at nearby Goripora and Shalteng localities while another girl fell from the first floor of her house and suffered head injury, the sources said.
SSP Srinagar Ashiq Bukhari told reporters that the encounter has ended but the search operation for the third militant was going on.
He said the militants were coming towards Srinagar city from Bandipora district and they were being tailed by the security forces since yesterday.
Bukhari confirmed that one suspected person was detained for questioning before the encounter began.
Earlier, several explosions were heard as security forces launched an assault to flush out the militants.
The two sides exchanged heavy volume of firing soon after security forces evacuated civilians including large number of women and children to safety from the houses in the vicinity of the building where the militants were taking shelter, they said.
The encounter started after police and troops of 2 Rashtriya Rifles cordoned off Malroo locality in the wee hours following a tip off about the presence of at least three militants in one of the houses in the area.
The ultras opened fire on the security forces when they were zeroing in on the house. The troops retaliated following which a gun battle ensued, they said.
At one stage, security forces sent a group of locals to persuade the militants to surrender, they said. However, the ultras refused the offer.
A helicopter was seen flying very low over the house after which one of the militants started firing towards it, they said.
A defence spokesperson said the movement of the choppers in the area is for routine administrative purposes as the headquarters of counter-insurgency 'Kilo Force' is located in nearby Shariefabad area.
"We do not use helicopters during encounter operations," Lt Colonel JS Brar said.
Director general of police Kuldeep Khoda told reporters that the operation was launched last night.
He said the security forces were alert to the challenge of militancy and necessary steps were being taken to thwart them.
This is the first encounter in Srinagar city since January six suicide attack at Lal Chowk.
The north Kashmir belt, comprising Kupwara, Bandipora and Baramulla districts, have witnessed surge in militant activity during the current year as a large number of infiltration bids have taken place near Line of Control in these districts.
More than 100 militants have been killed in these districts since January this year. PTI