Police along with Rashtriya Rifles and the Central Reserve Police Force launched a cordon and search operation in Gulab Bagh area of Tral after getting specific inputs about the presence of militants.
"The terrorists hiding in the area were asked to surrender but they refused and opened fire on security forces, triggering an encounter in which all three of them were killed", a defence spokesman said. The Kashmir Valley saw an encounter between terrorists and security forces every day. The operation was going on till last reports came in. He said that the slain militants were part of Zakir Musa group.
People took to the streets in the area and staged protest demonstrations against the operation.
A police statement said two AK-47 rifles and a pistol were found at the site.
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Police said one of the slain militant Ishaq was involved in thrashing and torturing of some SPOs on gunpoint and circulated the same on social media. However, when they were intercepted by the security personnel, they pelted stones on them.
Zahid Bhat had earlier hurled a grenade on a CRPF team. During law & order situation, one person sustained pellet injuries and later on succumbed to his injuries.
Former Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, the tech-savy Zakir Musa was announced as the head of the newly created Al-Qaida cell in Jammu and Kashmir, the Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind on July 27.