Security forces gunned down three suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militants early on Thursday in an encounter that lasted six hours in Kakapora area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, PTI reported. The gunfight had begun late on Wednesday.

A police officer said they had received intelligence inputs that the trio – believed to be members of the banned outfit LeT – were holed up in a house in Kakapora. “The three terrorists have been identified as locals Majid, Shariq and Irshad,” the officer was quoted as saying by CNN-News18. “Two AK-47 rifles have also been recovered from their possession.”

Teams from 50 Rashtriya Rifles, Special Operation Group and 183 Central Reserve Police Force battalion were involved in the encounter. “This is the first successful counter-insurgency operation in Pulwama, which is believed to have a large presence of local terrorists aided by a strong network of ground workers,” the police officer said.

The security forces came under “heavy automatic gunfire from the hiding militants”, IANS had quoted an unidentified official as saying on Wednesday. “The gunfire was returned.”

Announcements asking the public to help the militants flee are believed to have been made through public address systems at mosques, according to a Greater Kashmir report.

Civilian killed as clashes break out in Pulwama

A civilian was killed as clashes broke out in Pulwama between local residents and security forces after the three suspected LeT militants were killed, reported NDTV. Scores of protestors assembled in the streets and resorted to stone pelting after the encounter.

Security forces had to use force to bring the situation under control, reported The Hindu. Authorities have imposed restrictions in parts of Pulwama. Schools and colleges were shut down and internet services were suspended.

The civilian was declared dead after he was taken to a local hospital. He is believed to have been injured in the clashes, but the cause of his death was not immediately known. The police have refused to reveal details.

On June 17, LeT had lost its commander Junaid Mattoo in an encounter in Arwin village in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district. Earlier on Wednesday, two militants were killed in an encounter in Rafiabad in the state’s Baramulla district. Two weapons were confiscated from them.