Four soldiers were killed in an overnight gunfight in Hafruda forests in Rajwar area of north Kashmir's Kupwara district, police said on Monday.
According to police, a group of militants resorted to heavy firing on army's regular patrol party in the woods of Hafruda on Sunday evening, triggering a fierce gun-battle.
"The soldiers responded to the fire and the encounter started. The firing was going on till late Sunday evening," said Deputy Inspector General of Police (North Kashmir), Gareeb Das. He said the firing later stopped.
"On Monday morning, three bodies of soldiers were seen lying on ground. The body of fourth soldier was also recovered later when the firing stopped," Das said.
He said army's 6 RR and Special Operations Group of J&K Police were involved in the operation. He said the area comprises dense forests and it seems the militants have escaped from the spot.
"More reinforcement of police and army has been rushed to the spot. The operation has not been called off, though firing has stopped," he said. Meanwhile, in another gunfight in Kursan, Lolab in Kupwara district of north Kashmir, an unidentified militant was killed in an encounter, while the operation was on, police said Monday.
CHIEF MINISTER GRIEVED
Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed Monday expressed grief over the killing of four Army personnel in an encounter with militants in Hafruda forests of Handwara. In his message of condolence, Mufti expressed sympathies with the bereaved families of the soldiers and prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls.