Three militants associated with the Hizbul Mujahideen were killed in an encounter with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district on Monday, PTI reported.

A cordon and search operation in Wacchi area was initiated after receiving information about the presence of militants, an unidentified official said. When asked to surrender, the militants reportedly opened fire towards security forces’ positions. A huge cache of arms and ammunitions were recovered from the encounter site, police said.

One of the militants has been identified as Adil Ahmad, a special police officer who had deserted the force in 2018 and had decamped with at least nine weapons from the residence of then Peoples Democratic Party MLA Aijaz Ahmad Mir in Jawahar Nagar area of Srinagar.

After the encounter, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said Hizbul Mujahideen was on “the verge of being completely wiped out” in south Kashmir, ANI reported. He identified the second militant as Wasim Ahmed Wani, who had a top position in the outfit. “He had 19 FIRs against him and was also involved in killing of four civilians and four cops,” Singh said.

The third militant was identified as Jahangir.