"The searches operation was called off by the army in the evening as no militant body was recovered", they said.
A group of people from Khudwani and adjoining areas started pelting stones on security personnel during the encounter today in order to facilitate the escape of the ultras, the official said, adding 24 civilians were injured in the ensuing violence, four of whom died. "Two Lashkar-e-Taiba militants are believed hiding in the area", said the police.
Three Army men were injured in the initial engagement with the militants.
Reports emanating from the ground said houses and shops were also set ablaze after heavy explosives were used to combat the militants. Three among them, including two teenagers, succumbed to the injuries on being brought to the hospital.
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March 28, dispatchers shared a passerby's call reporting an assault near Arastradero and Deer Creek roads. After the attack, the suspect fled on foot and the victim flagged down a passerby for help.
They said security forces blasted the house from where the militants were firing at them following which the firing stopped.
Witnesses and sources said the forces fired teargas and pellets to disperse the protesters who were trying to disrupt the anti-militancy operation but they didn't relent following which the Army opened fire, "They shot directly at the protesters, resulting in injuries to many of them", witnesses said. "Among the 10 injured, eight with serious wounds were referred to Srinagar hospitals".
The authorities immediately placed key separatist leaders under house arrest in Srinagar, closed educational institutions in Kulgam and in neighboring district of Anantnag and northwestern Sopore town, suspended trains services between Srinagar and Banihal and snapped mobile, internet services in some parts of the Valley.
In a statement, the pro-independence leadership in the region called for a two-day shutdown in protest against the killings.
The latest killings came days after 13 militants, five civilians and three soldiers were killed in one of the most violent days in Kashmir in recent years on April 1.