Four suspected militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces in Shopian district in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, the state police said.

Security forces had launched a cordon and search operation in Daramdora area of Shopian, following information about the presence of militants, an unidentified Army official told PTI.

The militants were identified as Rafi Hassan Mir, Suhail Ahmad Bhat, Showkat Ahmad Mir and Azad Ahmad Khanday, a police spokesperson told PTI. While Showkat Ahmad Mir joined militant ranks in 2015, the others had recently joined. “Showkat was instrumental in recruiting Azad, Rafi and Suhail in terrorist ranks,” the official said. “Showkat was initially associated with Hizbul Mujahideen.”

The officer declined to comment on the affiliation of the militants, but the news agency cited sources as saying that the militants were affiliated to Ansar Gazwatul Hind.

The operation turned into an encounter after militants fired on the security forces who were conducting searches. The security forces retaliated and the militants were killed in the resulting exchange of fire, the police said, adding that arms and ammunitions were recovered from the site of the gunfight.