Five suspected militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, the police said. This is the third operation in Shopian since Sunday and 14 militants have been killed so far.

The security forces launched a cordon and search operation on Wednesday morning after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in Sugoo area of Shopian. The militants then opened fire on the search party, leading to a gunfight which ended in their deaths.

The police said the operation was conducted “with a humane approach” and without any collateral damage.

Brigadier Ajay Katoch told ANI that there were reports of the suspected militants being involved in attacks on civilians and security forces. “They [the suspected militants] were involved in numerous acts, including killing of apple traders last year, threatening innocent civilians, businessmen and shopkeepers,” he said. “They were also involved in brainwashing and coercing local youth in joining terrorist ranks.”

Nine suspected Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including a commander, were killed in two gun battles with the security forces on Sunday and Monday.

On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh had said that the security forces have eliminated 22 militants, including six top commanders, in nine operations in the last two weeks. He added that there could be around 150 to 250 militants in the Kashmir region and 125 to 150 in Jammu region.